Early mistakes costly for North football in loss to West
A pair of early fumbles that became Shawnee Mission West touchdowns doomed the Shawnee Mission North football team as a valiant Indians’ comeback fell just short with the Vikings taking a 20-13 victory Friday at Shawnee Mission North District Stadium.
In a space of seven seconds on the game clock, the Vikings had taken away two mishandled footballs and run them back for scores from 23 and 17 yards out, respectively, putting the Indians in a 20-0 hole less than five minutes into the game. North battled back with a 2-yard touchdown run by senior halfback Brock Burrows with 2:14 left in the first quarter and 22-yard touchdown strike from senior quarterback Ryan Theis to senior wide receiver Mason Perez with 33.6 seconds left to play in the half to make the score 20-13. Perez’s TD catch came on the next play after he returned an interception 63 yards to the West 22.
However, both teams’ defenses stiffened in the second half and the game finished with West still holding its one-touchdown advantage.
“After the game, we talked about how we can’t dig ourselves a hole like that,” North coach Dennis Grayless said. “To be completely frank, one of the things we stress in practice is that how we prepare for practice is how we’re going to perform on Friday. We struggle a lot on getting to the practice field and being ready to practice right off the bat. The habits you develop are the habits you’re going to carry through to Friday night. Tonight was a good example of how we didn’t come out tough.”
Further bad news for the Indians came by the way of injuries. Senior fullback Mitch Paden, who had been the Indians’ most consistent ground-gainer in the rushing attack, went out with a leg injury in the first half and didn’t return. To make matters worse, Perez injured his collarbone on his touchdown catch and also didn’t return in the second half, eliminating two of North’s biggest playmakers.
Theis led North offensively by going 10-for-22 for 114 yards and one TD in the passing game. Defensively, the Indians saw outstanding efforts from senior defensive lineman Hunter DeGraeve and senior linebacker Colin McCarty. Both players contributed one sack each to the team defensive total of four while DeGraeve also added a crucial fumble recovery.
The Indians are now 1-3 on the season and will take on the Lawrence Free State Firebirds next Friday.