Spartans come on late in season, win first ever State Title

 
Cameron Mellor (@CamMellor)
February 25, 2015

 

 

In 2014, many firsts happened all across the country. Some teams made it to the playoffs for the first time, while others advanced to the season’s culminating championship games for the first time.

 

In Columbia, Missouri the Spartans from Battle High School captured their school’s first ever State Championship in football, beating Nixa, 24-22.

 

The fight to get to the State Championship for Battle, however, was just that – quite the challenge.

 

The Spartans started their season off on the wrong foot, dropping a high-scoring matchup to Jackson, 62-34. Despite 265 rushing yards by Nash Sutherlin, the Spartans were outdone in the second half, surrendering 27 points over the final two quarters.

 

Despite the loss to open the season, Battle put forth a gutsy performance against Wentzville Holt in their second game of the season. Leading 42-28 at halftime, the Spartans allowed the Indians back in to the game in the second half after a quick 70-yard touchdown heave cut the Battle advantage to 49-42.

 

Sutherlin however would put the game away with a 50-yard touchdown rush, his second of the game, with just 3:47 left to play, giving the Spartans a 56-42 advantage. Even with a late touchdown surrendered to the Indians, Battle pulled off the victory, 56-49, in what would be the highest scoring game of the season in terms of total points for both teams.

 

After their exciting victory over Holt, Battle took to their home field for the first time in 2014, against Class 6 Rock Bridge.

 

After starting the game with two unconventional scores, a safety and a field goal, that gave the Spartans a 5-0 lead, the Bruins would launch a 25-point scoring onslaught over the next 25 minutes. Rock Bridge would hold on to defeat Battle, 25-11, pushing the Spartans record to just 1-2 on the season.

 

The Spartans brought their record back to even with a 36-0 shutout victory over Excelsior Springs in week four, only to be right back on the losing side of things a week later. Against Helias Catholic, Battle turned the ball over three times and committed nine penalties for 75 yards in a 29-14 defeat.

 

The playoffs seemed a long ways away for the Spartans after week five, but nevertheless, the Battle defense stood tall in their next two games, holding both Hickman and Lee’s Summit North to just seven points apiece and just 116 and 96 total yards of offense, respectively. Battle defeated the Kewpies, 14-7 before defeating the Broncos, 37-7.

 

Any momentum built from their two consecutive wins before, was lost the next week when Battle hosted Jefferson City in the final regular season home game of the year. The Jays built a 31-7 lead at halftime and didn’t look back, defeating the Spartans, 38-20.

 

In the final game of the regular season however, Battle once again got back to their winning ways, defeating Hannibal, 28-14 to push their record to 5-4 before heading to the playoffs as an unlikely contender.

 

The start to the playoffs pitted the Spartans against a one-win team in Washington, whom Battle defeated easily, 56-8 to advance.

 

Carrying what would become a common trend into their next game, Battle would face off against one of their regions top teams, and one of the teams that had been qualified for an automatic pass from the first round of the playoffs. Waynesville, the Spartans opponent in the second round, was coming off a week of rest, having been granted a bye in the first round.

 

Their rest seemingly paid off as late in the fourth quarter, Waynesville running back Jalen Thomas scored from 1-yard out to give the Tigers their first lead of the game, 17-14. That lead needed to last just 0:18 seconds longer however, as Sutherlin capped a quick drive with a 3-yard touchdown rush for the game-winning score.

 

The Spartans advanced to the third round after defeating Waynesville, 21-17.

 

Battle would take on Camdenton in their next postseason game, another team that had been granted a pass through the first round of the playoffs.

 

The Spartans scored first on a Brevinn Tyler connection to Chyrome Thorpe in the first quarter before Camdenton would tie the score before halftime at 7-7. Battle however would score two quick times in the third quarter to steal momentum and hold on to beat the Lakers, 22-14 and advance to the state quarterfinals.

 

Fort Zumwalt North would await the Spartans in the quarterfinals, having won their two playoffs games with ease, 29-0 over Parkway North and 42-7 over Fort Zumwalt East. The Panthers were also granted a bye in the first round of the playoffs and would meet the Spartans holding  a 10-1 record.

 

Similar to their previous game, Battle and Fort Zumwalt North went to the halftime break tied, this time at 13 points apiece.

 

Tyler would throw a 52-yard touchdown pass to Javeon McQuitty in the opening moments of the third quarter before both defenses would stand tall. The Tyler-McQuitty connection would be the final points of the game, and be enough to advance the Spartans to the state semifinals with a 20-13 victory.

 

Taking on their lone opponent who wasn’t granted that first round bye, the Spartans seemingly looked the part of the dominant team, dismantling Ladue Horton Watkins, 34-6 to advance to the school’s first ever state championship game appearance.

 

The State Championship game featured two teams just as unlikely as the other to have made it to the season’s culminating game. Both Nixa and Battle would bring with them a 10-4 record.

 

The Spartans got the scoring started with a Marshall Willingham 17-yard score with just under four minutes remaining in the first quarter.

 

The Eagles answered back however, with two quick Alec Murphy scores that gave Nixa a 14-7 lead that they would take to halftime. A scoreless third quarter was broken in rapid fashion as Battle kicker Kaleb Adams connected on a 43-yard field goal with 4:01 left.

 

Nixe quarterback Logan Tyler would be intercepted on the Eagles ensuing possession as Darrion Hall would secure the takeaway and return it for a touchdown. After a successful two-point conversion, the Spartans lead 18-14 in just a matter of 1:10 seconds.

 

Riding their momentum, Brevinn Tyler would rush from 18-yards out to give Battle a 24-14 lead at the beginning of the fourth quarter.

 

Adams field goal in the third quarter would prove to be the difference in the game after Dawson Mills connected with Dustin Clifton for 17-yards and a score that brought the Eagles within two points, 24-22.

 

The Spartans would need to bleed the remaining 4:18 off of the clock to hold on to the victory. They got help by means of a big 33-yard completion from Tyler to Thorpe on a 3rd and 8 play. After the pass, Tyler would seemingly put the game away with a 50-yard touchdown rush, only to be called back by an illegal procedure penalty.

 

Nevertheless, the Spartans would be able to run out the final moments of the clock and secure the school’s first ever football State Championship, holding on to defeat Nixa, 24-22.

 

 

After an up and down season ended with the ultimate goal, the 2015 season for the Spartans will have to have some exciting moments to compete with this past season. Battle will return Tyler (a rising junior), Thorpe, McQuitty and a host of other offensive stars looking to defend their title.

 

One thing is for sure, if teams didn’t know who the Battle Spartans were before 2014, they know now.

 

Offensive stat leaders

Rushing: Nash Sutherlin (2090 yards)

Passing: Brevinn Tyler (1379 yards)

Receiving: Chyrome Thorpe (554 yards)

All-Purpose: Nash Sutherlin (1290 yards)

Touchdowns: Nash Sutherlin (19)

Rush attempts: Nash Sutherlin (280 carries)

Receptions: Chyrome Thorpe (43 catches)

 

Defensive stat leaders

Interceptions: Kole Hinton (4)

Interception return: Marshall Willingham (111 yards)

Fumbles recovered: Chandler Anderson (4)

 

Team statistics

Total scoring: 427 points

Opponent scoring: 311

Total offense: 5186 yards

Total rushing yards: 1669 yards

Total passing yards: 3517 yards

Opponent offense: 3153 yards

Opponent rushing yards: 1475 yards

Opponent passing yards: 1678 yards

Turnover differential: +9 (18 interceptions, 11 fumbles)

Hundreds of athletes sign letters of intent on NSD

 

By: Cameron Mellor
February 10, 2014

 

Last Wednesday, one of the most exciting times for high school athletes dawned upon us, a day signifying a commitment to not only an education, but also the chance to play their respective sport at the next level. National Signing Day marked the day in which senior athletes must declare and fax in their letters of intent to their intended university, accepting their scholarship offer.

 

While some use NSD as the day to finally make known their college choice, others make what might have been known for awhile, official. Either way, it is a day that most athletes, especially high school football players, anxiously wait for most of their lives.

 

With the culmination of a number of high school careers, we’ll take a look back at the athletes whose programs used the HSGameCenter product and signed LOI’s to attend major college football programs last week.

 

Athlete, Position, High School, University:

 

Josh Malone, WR, Station Camp (Tenn.), Tennessee

 

John ‘Juju’ Smith, S, Long Beach Poly (Calif.), USC

 

Jeb Blazevich, TE, Charlotte Christian (N.C.), Georgia

 

Vic Wharton, WR, Independence (Tenn.), Tennessee

 

Rashaan Gaulden, WR, Independence, Tennessee

 

Parris Campbell, RB, St. Vincent St. Mary (Ohio), Ohio State

 

Dante Booker, LB, St. Vincent St. Mary, Ohio State

 

Kyle Berger, OT, St. Ignatius (Ohio), Ohio State

 

Jimmy Byrne, LB, St. Ignatius, Notre Dame

 

Matt Dickerson, DE, Serra (Calif.), UCLA

 

Traevohn Wrench, RB, Gardner Edgerton (Kan.), Kansas

 

Daniel Helm, TE, Glenwood (Ill.), Tennessee

 

Monte Harrison, WR, Lee’s Summit West (Mo.), Nebraska

 

Braden Smith, OG, Olathe South (Kan.), Auburn

 

Steven Parker, S, Jenks (Okla.), Oklahoma

 

Chris Lacy, WR, Desoto (Tex.), Oklahoma State

 

Dameon Willis, LB, St. Ignatius, Indiana

 

Qadree Ollison, RB, Canisius (N.Y.), Pittsburgh

 

Jack Kraus, TE, Bentonville (Ark.), Arkansas

 

Isaiah Gentry, WR, Moeller (Ohio), Minnesota

 

J.J. Jackson, DE, Woodgrove (Va.), Virginia

 

Hamilton Anoa’i, LB, Serra, Northwestern

 

Jarvion Franklin, RB, Victor J Andrew (Ill.), Western Michigan

 

Dalvin Warmack, RB, Blue Springs (Mo.), Kansas State

 

Juan Day, RB, North Little Rock (Ark.), Arkansas

 

Gaelin Elmore, TE, Somerset (Wis.), Minnesota

 

Conor Sheehy, DE, Marquette University School (Wis.), Wisconsin

 

Bo Hines, WR, Charlotte Christian, NC State

 

Logan Cheadle, CB, Lee’s Summit West, Missouri

 

Elijah Lee, LB, Blue Springs, Kansas State

 

Kaleb Prewett, S, Blue Springs, Kansas State

 

Lorenzo Featherston, DE, Page (N.C.), Florida State

 

Kevin Pendleton, OT, Lee’s Summit West, Missouri

 

Terian Goree, WR, Carthage (Tex.), North Texas

 

Austin Chambers, OT, Shawnee Mission West (Kan.), BYU

 

Alonzo Saxton, DB, Bishop Hartley (Ohio), Duke

 

Jimmie Swain, LB, Olathe North (Kan.), Oregon

 

Nick Orr, CB, Desoto, TCU

 

Phillipie Motley, DB, Hilliard Davidson (Ohio), Pittsburgh

 

Cole Walterscheid, DE, Muenster (Tex.), Oklahoma State

 

Bryan Mone, DT, Highland (Utah), Michigan

 

Pita Tonga, DT, Highland, Utah

 

Aaron Sharp, QB, Summer Creek (Tex.), UCLA

 

Brady Taylor, OT, Ready (Ohio), Ohio State

 

Aaron Mends, LB, Winnetonka (Mo.), Iowa

 

Dakota Allen, LB, Summer Creek, Texas Tech

 

James David, LB, Rockdale (Tex.), Baylor

 

Conner Krizancic, WR, Mentor (Ohio), Minnesota

 

Josh Pelzel, OT, Rockdale, Baylor

 

Justin Hobbs, WR, Shawnee Mission West, Tulsa

 

Kalil Morris, DT, Bishop Hartley, Kent State

 

Okeeron Rutherford, WR, Carthage, North Texas

 

Kendall Blanton, TE, Blue Springs South (Mo.), Missouri

 

Jordan Benson, OT, Blue Springs, Colorado State

 

Josh Watson, LB, Blue Springs South, Colorado State

 

Henry McGrew, LB, Blue Valley (Kan.), Illinois

 

Dylan Harding, S, Jenks, Oklahoma State

 

Donquell Green, WR, Burke County (Ga.), Marshall

 

Garret Bradbury, TE, Charlotte Christian, NC State

 

Austin McGehee, K, Pine Bluff (Ark.), Purdue

 

Blake Bogenschutz, QB, Carthage, UTSA

 

Patrick Reed, QB, Silsbee (Tex.), New Mexico

 

Gus Ragland, QB, Moeller, Miami (OH)

 

Jonathan Duhart, WR, Manchester (Va.), Old Dominion

 

Gasetoto Schuster, DT, Long Beach Poly, Utah State

 

Michael Siragusa, WR, St. Ignatius, Buffalo

 

Augie Touris, TE, Canisius, UTEP

 

Desmon White, ATH, Desoto, TCU

 

Howard Wilson, CB, Desoto, Houston

 

Shaquel Jackson, DT, Desoto, North Texas

 

Johnavhan Grahm, DE, Desoto, North Texas

 

Adrian Goodacre, OG, Carthage, UL-Lafayette

 

Dale Brown, WR, Lee’s Summit West, Northern Illinois

 

Elijah Moody, CB, Long Beach Poly, Nevada

 

Thor Katoa, LB, Pine View (Utah), Utah

 

Jordan Morgan, WR, Southridge (Ore.), Arizona

 

Donald Lewis Jr., CB, Central (La.), Tulsa

 

Tim Quirkel, LB, North Little Rock, Tulsa

 

Deion Holliman, WR, Camden Fairview (Ark.), LA Monroe

 

D’Kwan Sandolph, WR, St. James (La.), Minnesota

 

Jalen Harvey, DT, Clay-Chalkville (Ala.), Syracuse

 

Cameron Knight, TE, Shallowater (Tex.), Texas State

 

Devon Rogers, ATH, Hilliard Darby (Ohio), Air Force

 

Travonte Junius, ATH, St. Vincent St. Mary, Akron

 

Newman Williams, LB, St. Vincent St. Mary, Akron

 

Colton Freeman, C, San Angelo Central (Tex.), Houston

 

Mason Bendigo, QB, Eureka (Mo.), Illinois

 

Akili Taylor, RB, Ready, Kent State

 

Tristan McClone, RB, Warsaw Community (Ind.), Army

 

Jason Fao, DT, Long Beach Poly, UTEP

 

Anthony Holmes, WR, Valley (Iowa), Wyoming

 

David Morrison, QB, Concordia Lutheran (Ind.), Ball State

 

Evan Martin, OG, Lee’s Summit West, Navy

 

Published on 02/10/2014 at 07:51PM under . Tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

HSGameCenter Users Shine on Signing Day

Congratulations to HSGC users across the state of Minnesota

 

By: Cameron Mellor
January 28, 2014

 

As National Signing Day nears, signifying the culmination of a number of high school careers, we see no better time than the present to reflect on a terrific football season and continue to unveil the first-annual, All-HSGC Award Lists for the 2013 football season.

 

Working now on a state-by-state basis, the same extensive parameters and essential criteria were considered for the coveted list. The All-HSGC Awards signify excellence on the field of key offensive positions and defensive players as a whole.

 

The quintessential component of the list was basic and to-the-point – your team must utilize the HSGameCenter program being delivered by Digital Scout. From there, the grading criterion included, but was not limited to, yards and touchdowns, team winning percentage, percentage of team total offense and much more.

  

After careful deliberation and hours of scouring over statistics from programs across Minnesota, the list of the first ever All-Minnesota HSGC Awards are here.

 

All-Minnesota Player of the Year:

John Larson, Braham Area High School (11-1)

Quarterback No. 9

3203 total yards, 39 total touchdowns

 

All-Minnesota First Team

Quarterback:

Austin Buysse, Minneota High School (13-1), No. 11

2171 total yards, 34 total touchdowns

 

Jackson Erdmann, Rosemount High School (11-2), No. 2

1949 total yards, 26 total touchdowns

 

Running Back:

Ryan Bruggeman, Pelican Rapids High School (6-4), No. 6

2176 total yards, 28 total touchdowns

 

Kane Carstens, Lourdes High School (10-2), No. 30

1780 total yards, 27 total touchdowns

 

Wide Receiver:

Zach Dahlman, Braham Area, No. 14

1053 total yards, 13 total touchdowns

 

Jordan Beck, Minneota, No. 10

612 total yards, 15 total touchdowns

 

All-Minnesota Second Team

Quarterback:

Ryan Synoground, Austin High School (6-4), No. 5

2076 total yards, 24 total touchdowns

 

David Ponath, St. Croix Lutheran High School (11-2), No. 15

2119 total yards, 31 total touchdowns

 

Running Back:

Hesston Bachmann, Frazee High School (7-3), No. 42

1890 total yards, 16 total touchdowns

 

Jeff Gladis, Minneota, No. 24

1777 total yards, 14 total touchdowns

 

Wide Receiver:

Casey Decker, Maple River High School (9-2), No. 3

1373 total yards, 15 total touchdowns

 

TJ Fulton, Wabasso High School (9-2), No. 3

1109 total yards, 15 total touchdowns

 

All-Minnesota Third Team

Quarterback:

Brandon Helget, St. Mary’s of Sleepy Eye High School (12-1), No. 2

2339 total yards, 27 total touchdowns

 

Brady Berge, Kasson-Mantorville High School (9-2), No. 1

2366 total yards, 22 total touchdowns

 

Running Back:

D’Aireus Mock, Columbia Heights High School (7-3), No. 28

1664 total yards, 17 total touchdowns

 

Dimitri Williams, Rosemount, No. 1

1749 total yards, 25 total touchdowns

 

Wide Receiver:

Brandon Mager, Pine River-Backus High School (8-3), No. 25

958 total yards, 15 total touchdowns

 

Ben Ellefson, Hawley High School (10-2), No. 14

1070 total yards, 17 total touchdowns

 

All-Minnesota Honorable Mention

Quarterback:

Jordan Harms, Hawley, No. 7

1526 total yards, 21 total touchdowns

 

Neil Eichten, Wabasso, No. 5

1651 total yards, 20 total touchdowns

 

Running Back:

Brady Lange, Lewiston-Altura High School (6-4), No. 22

1579 total yards, 15 total touchdowns

 

Zach Knox, Stillwater Area High School (3-6), No. 27

1715 total yards, 18 total touchdowns

 

Luke Kelvington, Foley High School (6-3), No. 8

1461 total yards, 18 total touchdowns

 

Wide Receiver:

Bret Lukes, Austin, No. 7

1108 total yards, 10 total touchdowns

 

Tyler Beehler, Foley, No. 2

1108 total yards, 9 total touchdowns

 

Caleb Olson, St. Croix Lutheran, No. 13

746 total yards, 9 total touchdowns

 

 

All-Minnesota Defensive Player of the Year

Daniel Harrison, Minneota, No. 42

47 total tackle, 33 solo, 19 tackle for loss, 13.5 sack

 

All-Minnesota Defensive Honorable Mention

Jordan Beck, Minneota, No. 10

37 total tackle, 19 solo, 15.5 tackle for loss, 10.5 sack

 

Aaron Trio, Maple River, No. 5

51 total tackle, 32 solo, 14.5 tackle for loss, 6 sack

 

Colten Carlson, United South Central High School (5-4), No. 64

83 total tackle, 68 solo, 11 tackle for loss, 4 sack, 1 interception

 

Tanner Bock, Wabasso, No. 24

69.5 total tackle, 36 solo, 11 tackle for loss, 1 sack, 2 interception

 

Ted Frid, South St. Paul High School (9-2), No. 29

49.5 total tackle, 42 solo, 8.5 tackle for loss, 2 sack, 4 interception

Congratulations to HSGC users across the state of Kansas

 

By: Cameron Mellor
January 16, 2014

 

As National Signing Day nears, signifying the culmination of a number of high school careers, we see no better time than the present to reflect on a terrific football season and continue to unveil the first-annual, All-HSGC Award Lists for the 2013 football season.

 

Working now on a state-by-state basis, the same extensive parameters and essential criteria were considered for the coveted list. The All-HSGC Awards signify excellence on the field of key offensive positions and defensive players as a whole.

 

The quintessential component of the list was basic and to-the-point – your team must utilize the HSGameCenter program being delivered by Digital Scout. From there, the grading criterion included, but was not limited to, yards and touchdowns, team winning percentage, percentage of team total offense and much more.

  

After careful deliberation and hours of scouring over statistics from programs across Kansas, the list of the first ever All-Kansas HSGC Awards are here.

 

All-Kansas Player of the Year:

Ryan Schadler, Hesston High School (8-1)

Running Back No. 33

2720 total yards, 42 total touchdowns

 

All-Kansas First Team

Quarterback:

Logan Brettell, Blue Valley High School (10-3), No. 12

2486 total yards, 26 total touchdowns

 

Running Back:

Traevohn Wrench, Gardner Edgerton High School (8-2), No. 20

2117 total yards, 31 total touchdowns

 

Riley Allen, Buhler High School (13-1), No. 22

2033 total yards, 27 total touchdowns

 

Wide Receiver:

Kendall Stewart, Maize High School (7-3), No. 1

1146 total yards, 14 total touchdowns

 

Jacob Newcomer, Haven High School (2-7), No. 5

1227 total yards, 10 total touchdowns

 

All-Kansas Second Team

Quarterback:

Connor Lungwitz, Maize, No. 13

1968 total yards, 32 total touchdowns

 

Running Back:

Chance Nelson, Blue Valley, No. 15

2176 total yards, 20 total touchdowns

 

Chase White, Maize, No. 24

1909 total yards, 22 total touchdowns

 

Wide Receiver:

Christian Jegen, Mill Valley High School (10-1), No. 1

782 total yards, 9 total touchdowns

 

Mikey Henson, Blue Valley, No. 25

737 total yards, 11 total touchdowns

 

All-Kansas Third Team

Quarterback:

Jace Williams, Buhler, No. 7

1560 total yards, 21 total touchdowns

 

Running Back:

Travis Wood, Conway Springs High School (11-1), No. 22

1672 total yards, 23 total touchdowns

 

Tyler Burns, Trinity Academy (5-4), No. 33

1504 total yards, 21 total touchdowns

 

Wide Receiver:

Evan Ollenburger, Hillsboro High School (3-6), No. 4

1096 total yards, 8 total touchdowns

 

Jaqwan Stone, Blue Valley Northwest High School (7-3), No. 2

799 total yards, 7 total touchdowns

 

All-Kansas Honorable Mention

Quarterback:

Dakota Finstad, Conway Springs, No. 5

1640 total yards, 19 total touchdowns

 

Jesse Brown, Hillsboro, No. 18

2516 total yards, 28 total touchdowns

 

Tanner Eikenbary, Piper High School (7-5), No. 9

1702 total yards, 18 total touchdowns

 

Running Back:

Bradley Million, Newton High School (5-5), No. 21

1592 total yards, 16 total touchdowns

 

Greg McAtee, Lakin High School (4-5), No. 30

1717 total yards, 16 total touchdowns

 

Jason Randall, Leavenworth High School (3-7), No. 25

1724 total yards, 16 total touchdowns

 

Wide Receiver:

Ryan McNellis, St. Thomas Aquinas High School (3-7), No. 4

873 total yards, 12 total touchdowns

 

Kevan Jobe, Maize, No. 6

653 total yards, 9 total touchdowns

 

 

All-Kansas Defensive Player of the Year

Kyle Ball, Shawnee Mission East High School (11-2), No. 44

102 total tackle, 102 solo, 30 tackle for loss, 8 sack

 

All-Kansas Defensive Honorable Mention

Jordan Donnelson, Leavenworth, No. 56

60 total tackle, 57 solo, 14.5 tackle for loss, 8.5 sack

 

Kyle Huxman, Moundridge High School (3-6), No. 42

62.5 total tackle, 42 solo, 11.5 tackle for loss, 5 sack

 

Luke Fisher, Conway Springs, No. 25

86.5 total tackle, 65 solo, 14.5 tackle for loss, 0.5 sack

 

Alex Jackson, Andover High School (9-2) No. 9

67 total tackle, 58 solo, 14.5 tackle for loss, 1 interception

 

Clayton Norrod, Maize, No. 40

65 total tackle, 62 solo, 10.5 tackle for loss, 2.5 sack, 1 interception

Sophomore QB Kasey Ford leads Tigers to 2013 State Championship victory

 

By: Cameron Mellor

December 17, 2013

 

In the face of adversity and on the biggest of stages, age and experience seemed not to matter this past Friday as a sophomore quarterback led the Bentonville Tigers to a 7A State Championship victory over Cabot. That sophomore quarterback was Kasey Ford who connected on 11-of-18 pass attempts for 265 yards and three touchdowns under the brightest of lights.

 

For his efforts this past Friday night, Ford has been selected as the HSGC National Player of the Week.

 

 

“We’ve grown into a passing game because of a young quarterback (this season),” Bentonville head coach Barry Lunney said. “Our running game has been so good that we have selectively thrown and expanded the offense.”

 

Ford saved his best performance of the season for last as he eclipsed the 200 yards mark through the air for the first time. He also notched a season high in rushing yards and was one touchdown shy of matching his career and season high.

 

While the two teams traded scores in the first 23 minutes, the Tigers found themselves trailing 14-10 after Cabot claimed the lead with 0:54 seconds to go. It was Ford who connected with receiver Jimmie Jackson on a 52-yard completion during the ensuing possession that took Bentonville within field goal range just before half time, stealing momentum at the break. The Tigers kicked a field goal as time expired to go down by just one point, 14-13.

 

 

Despite not taking the lead at the half, the momentum switch was evident during the second half. The 6-foot-5, 220-pound Ford led his offense on three consecutive, unanswered scoring drives, two of which culminated with passing touchdowns, one to Jackson and another to receiver Cody Scroggins.

 

Lunney credits Ford’s growth to his preparation and determination off the game field.

 

“I don’t know how to describe it,” Lunney said. “He’s wanting to be a good quarterback – studying film and his practices have been good. He keeps getting better in practice.”

 

Lunney also stated that the adversity Ford faced in the beginning stages of the season may have sped up his quarterback’s growth. In his first start of the season, Ford and the Tigers faced off against perennial Texas powerhouse Euless Trinity. Bentonville lost the game 21-13, but it was Ford who suffered as he tossed more interceptions (3) than he did during all 11 other games combined (2).

 

 

Adversity aside, Ford bounced back from the early season defeat and went on to throw just one interception the rest of the year, all the while rattling off 10 straight victories.

 

“To get his first start against Euless Trinity, it doesn’t get much bigger than that,” Lunney said. “We didn’t put too much on him at the start of the year. We’ve grown.”

 

With 11 starts and 10 victories under his belt now, Ford and the Tigers will start the 2014 season defending their State Title. Ford finishes the season with 1846 yards through the air and 22 touchdowns. He also ran for another four scores.

 

All of this, and maybe another factor as Coach Lunney sees it, may lead fans to believe they’re in for some special seasons with Ford at the helm.

 

“You can see it, he’s got the ‘it’,” Lunney said. “You know, you can’t coach a bunch of that. He’s got the ‘it’.”

 

If Lunney is correct, the rest of the state better watch out for Ford and his ‘it’ factor and the rest of the Tigers in 2014 after the 2013 campaign they had. You can take a look back at Bentonville’s success this season right here:http://www.hsgamecenter.com/arkansas/school/bentonville-tigers