by John Unrein
Grain Valley took a 17-0 lead into the start of the 4th quarter against the Platte County Pirates on Friday, September 20th.
An interception by the Pirates would lead to a touchdown, as would a long pass, and blocked punt in the final quarter. The three touchdowns by Platte County in the final twelve minutes would be too much for the Eagles to overcome as their final drive stalled and they would go on to lose 18-17.
Eagles Head Football Coach David Allie was disappointed with the bad taste of a tough two week stretch where his football team struggled to overcome mistakes.
“We shot ourselves in the foot. Lack of execution in preventing their pass rush, not being able to get the ball out fast enough to open receivers due to pressure, penalties in the running game, and turnovers hurt us,” Allie said.
“Hats off to our defense in holding them to no points for three quarters. They played tough for a long stretch tonight.”
The Pirates went up tempo on offense from their first possession in an attempt to wear down the Eagles defense and maximize the amount to times they held the football. Grain Valley’s defense answered the call in a strong manner, holding the Pirates scoreless on all seven of their first half possessions.
Four of those possessions would end with a Pirates punt, one in an interception by Sophomore Linebacker Owen Perkins of Grain Valley, one in a missed field goal attempt, and one due to a delay of game by the Pirates at the end of the first half.
Other Eagle defenders leading the charge were Senior Linebacker Seth Dankenbring and Junior Defensive Tackle Quincy Jones. Dakenbring played sideline to sideline in pass coverage and run defense, while Jones applied pressure on Platte County Junior Quarterback Christopher Ruhnke.
Grain Valley’s offense was led on the ground by Junior Quarterback Cole Keller and in receiving by Junior Wide Receiver Parker Bosserman. Keller would rack up 82 yards on 12 carries, including an impressive 46-yard scamper on a jet sweep option keep in the first quarter that would lead to the Eagles first touchdown of the game.
Bosserman contributed 78 yards receiving on 4 receptions. His biggest grab was on a play action pass from Keller that saw him dart 47 yards down the middle of the field to the end zone with 3:51 left in the third quarter. The junior also displayed steady hands and good lane choice recognition for his team on several kickoff returns.
“I tried to do the best I could tonight. I made some mistakes. Overall, as a team we just need to work on the details,” Bosserman said.
“The defensive secondary for them bit hard tonight on play action and that allowed me an easy opportunity to score on the touchdown reception. We must find ways to be more disciplined and fix the flags we’re getting at times. I have faith this team will get that done.”
The Eagles will next host the Winnetonka Griffons on Thursday, September 26th at Moody Murray Stadium. Grain Valley will look to improve on their 2-2 record against their visiting Suburban Conference opponent who will arrive with a 3-1 record, fresh off a loss to the Kearney Bulldogs.
Allie indicated his team would continue to emphasize the basics in their week of preparation leading up to the game.
“Fundamentals matter. We must hold onto the football. Special teams wise, I would like to see us get a game breaker that helps us. The blocked punt against us tonight for a touchdown, as the scoreboard shows, was huge. We are a confident team and have to get out of our own way,” Allie said.
Above: Junior Kick Returner Parker Bosserman fields a kickoff.
Below: Junior Quarterback Cole Keller keeps the ball on jet sweep option.
Photo credit: Valley News staff