by John Unrein
The Grain Valley Eagles Football team could not maintain the early momentum they seized against the Platte County Pirates in the Class 4 State Quarterfinal Playoff game on Friday, November 22nd. The Eagles would force the Pirates to punt after a three and out on their first possession prior to Junior Quarterback Parker Bosserman’s 29 yard touchdown run on a quarterback mesh read with 3:40 left in the first quarter.
The 7-0 lead would be the last for the Eagles despite a valiant effort through all four quarters. Platte County would go on to win the contest by a score of 38-21 in advancing to the semi final round of the playoffs.
Eagles Head Football Coach David Allie was proud of his team as he reflected on their efforts against the Pirates and throughout the season.
“We started like gangbusters tonight. A couple of plays here and there after that including a turnover that wasn’t good, along with some three and outs offensively and we gave up the score right before half. That’s not what we wanted,” Allie said.
“It was a great season for these guys. The legacy that this group of seniors will leave as far as work ethic and winning the day with their efforts and where that got us is special. There are no words that I can say now to make anyone feel better in this moment. We will look back and say this was a pretty good year.”
Key offensive contributors for the Eagles in the game included Senior Running Back Jamore Goulden, Sophomore Wide Receiver Logan Pratt, and Senior Running Back Seth Dankenbring.
Goulden would produce 64 hard fought yards between the tackles on 15 carries. Pratt would haul in three passes good for 43 yards and a touchdown. Dankenbring would end his career with a flurry on offense that yielded 51 yards on seven carries, including a 23 yard touchdown run off an option pitch from Bosserman with :23 seconds left in the third quarter.
Dankenbring worked hard to hold back the emotion in conveying his thoughts on the game. The Eagles vocal leader expressed thanks to his teammates and coaches.
“We pounded read option tonight pretty good. It was successful for us three or four times. Bosserman fought to the edge against their defensive end on my touchdown and made a great pitch that allowed me to score. Gavin (Oyler) had a terrific block on the edge that allowed me to walk in untouched,” Dankenbring said.
“We’ve been playing football now for six months and I couldn’t be happier with the guys. I love all of them. We’re a family, and I’m going to miss this. I’ve grown bonds with these coaches since I was a freshman. I’m close with all of them. I mean they are my best friends and have taught me all I know about football. They are great leaders and people.”
The Eagles defense worked hard to hold down an explosive Pirates offense. Grain Valley was able to force three punts that all occurred after three and out stands. However, Junior Quarterback Christopher Ruhnke and Junior Wide Receiver Colby Rollins proved to be a strong tandem.
The duo would combine for three touchdowns through the air. The Pirates would utilize four and five wide receiver sets to get Rollins isolated in coverage on successful post and vertical patterns. Ruhnke’s display of uncanny touch permitted the Pirates to take advantage of small windows in coverage.
Among the Eagles looking forward to next season is Junior Quarterback Cole Keller. Grain Valley’s signal caller has been active on the sidelines interacting with his teammates and coaches since his injury.
“Eagles football has produced a lot of good relationships for me. The bonds you make in the grind of this game with only 10 games guaranteed is special,” Keller said.
“This coaching staff is always pushing us. They’ve taught me about being coachable. I’m understanding how to apply that in life in that if you make a mistake, you learn from it and don’t do that again. Accepting criticism from wise people and applying it makes you better.”
The Eagles finish with a 9-4 record on the season. Grain Valley produced 336 points on offense while only giving up 211. Furthermore, post season honors are rolling in for the Eagles with Suburban Blue All-Conference Football selections.
First Team Honorees include Linebacker Seth Dankenbring, Defensive Back Willie Lanear, Wide Receiver Gavin Oyler, Offensive Lineman Jack Bailey, and Defensive Lineman Donovan McBride.
Second Team Honorees include Offensive Lineman Landen Hinton, Defensive Lineman Steele Blackmon, Wide Receiver Parker Bosserman, and Running Back Jamore Goulden.
Eagles defense stops the Pirate ball carrier.
Photo credit: John Overstreet
Parker Bosserman keeps the football off of read for a positive gain.
Photo credit: John Overstreet