Thunder run past Braves in district showdown
Overland Park St. James controlled every facet of what Bonner Springs likes to do: Run the ball, in the Thunder's 54-24 victory Thursday night at St. Thomas Aquinas.
SJA (5-3, 1-1 district) stacked the box from the start forcing BSHS (6-2, 1-1 district) to throw the ball, and it worked out in the Thunder's favor as Braxton Lewis intercepted Jordan Jackson and took it back 92-yards for a touchdown on the Braves' first drive.
“Braxton just made a great play on that ball,” SJA coach Tom Radke said.
BSHS coach Lucas Aslin said injuries to the offensive line have hurt the running game and the players that are in there now just aren’t give Trevon Mason or Jared Knernschield good enough blocks.
“The easiest way for us is spread them out and throw the football. We have some receivers that can make some plays.” Aslin said.
BSHS would respond on its next drive when Jackson found Jonah Freese for a 66-yard touchdown pass to pull even.
The Thunder would punt after a three-and-out on its first offensive possession, but forced a Jackson fumble on defense, to set up a Keith Winger three-yard touchdown five plays later.
Aslin said the turnovers didn’t help as it possibly could have deflated his team.
“On defense, our guys did not play very hard. They did not play very inspired. They did not play very sound,” Aslin said. “The offense scored enough points to win a football game, but defensively that was a really poor effort.”
SJA would score on that drive and its next four to end the half and go into the locker room ahead 36-7 after scoring 29 unanswered points.
The Thunder would control the clock, something it wasn’t able to do against Spring Hill last week. They were also able to use the passing game and exploit the Braves’ defense.
“We came out and really put an emphasis on throwing the ball,” Radke said. “This is what we thought we were capable of and last week was just a hiccup.”
The second half was more even, but the Thunder just needed to tread water as they had built a large enough lead.
“There’s nothing you can do about the first half, you can’t erase the scoreboard,” Aslin said. “We just wanted to come out in the second half with some confidence and I think we did offensively. Defensively, we were still searching for some answers.”
The Thunder’s Jake Bade ran for 178 yards and two touchdowns, while Alex King threw for 232 yards and one touchdown. He also ran for one.
In preparation for this week’s game, King watched a Tim Tebow documentary about leadership and wanted to put the weight of the team on his shoulders. He did that Thursday night.
All three of the Braves' touchdowns were through the air from Jackson as he accumulated 379 yards passing. They were held to 72 yards rushing on 16 attempts.
Both teams finish up district play on Halloween on the road. Bonner Springs travels to Spring Hill, while St. James heads to De Soto.
“If Spring Hill beats De Soto, then if we can go beat Spring Hill, we have a chance,” Aslin said. “The way it is now, it’s going to come down to points.”
Radke likes the position his team is in right now.
He was just happy to get the bad taste of last week out of his mouth.
“It’s good to get the monkey off our back after how we played last week. The guys played hard tonight,” Radke said. “They played physical; they played smart. We wanted to play a full smart game and we did tonight.”