Kansas Snaps Losing Streak in Dominating Fashion
By Cody Thorn
LEAVENWORTH, Kan. — What looked to be the biggest defensive stand of the game turned out to be a momentum-changing series.
Kansas had marched from its 22-yard line down to the Missouri 3-yard line on the second series in the Greater Kansas City Football Coaches Association's All-Star Game, sponsored by BeYounion.com.
Missouri's defensive line stopped St. Thomas Aquinas quarterback Will Swanson at the 1-yard line to force a turnover with 2 minutes, 31 seconds left in the first quarter at Pioneer Stadium in Leavenworth, Kan.
Momentum was quickly on the very next play.
Lawrence Free State's Gage Foster got into the backfield and tackled Belton's Dante Madden in the end zone. The safety was just the start of a shift as Kansas' Jamison Phelps, from Olathe South, took the free kick back 70 yards for a touchdown and a 9-0 lead.
The 31-second span between a turnover and touchdown sparked the Kansas squad to a 30-0 victory Thursday night, snapping a seven-year losing streak to the Missourians.
“It was great, we came in with Missouri winning seven in a row and this isn't going to happen again,” said Mill Valley quarterback Brody Flaming, named the Kansas MVP of the game. “We had a lot of determination to go out and play. It was great to be all together and having a great time.
“That safety happened and that kickoff return. It went downhill for Missouri and uphill for us. It was great for us.”
The shutout was the fourth in the 26 years of the event and the second shutout win for Kansas in the series, which Missouri now leads 14-12.
Kansas took a 16-0 lead into the break thanks to a 15-yard touchdown pass by Flaming to Shawnee Mission Northwest's Hayden Goodpaster with 10:50 left in the second quarter.
Swanson guided Kansas down the field late in the second quarter, but a field goal attempt with 2 seconds left was blocked by William Chrisman's Emori Thomas.
Running Aquinas' flexbone offense worked well for the Kansas squad and the dominant run attack was showcased on the second drive of the first half.
After forcing a turnover on fourth down, a personal foul call on Missouri gave up another 15 yards to Kansas. The home team then ran the ball eight straight times and capped it on a 2-yard keeper by DeSoto quarterback Bryce Mohl with 4:44 left in the third.
That pushed the advantage to 23-0 after Blue Valley's Jackson Likens booted the PAT.
The scoring was capped when Flaming threw his second touchdown pass of the game with 8 minutes left in the fourth quarter. Scrambling out of the pocket and running toward the Missouri sideline, he threw a pass that got over the Missouri secondary and found St. Thomas Aquinas tight end Joseph Clune.
The 6-foot, 270-pounder rumbled his way down the field, cutting at the 2-yard line to avoid a tackle to get into the end zone.
Flaming passed the ball five only times but threw a pair of touchdowns.
“I didn't really know what to do, but I had a lot of people backing me up,” he said of running the flexbone, much different than the spread offense he is used to. “We had a push all night, and we tired them out, and Missouri couldn't stay with us.”
Kansas ran the ball 45 times for 171 yards and had five players with 20 yards or more on the ground. The balanced offense had two players with eight carries each, two with four, one with five and three with four totes. St. James Academy's Jack Petz led the way with 42 yards, while St. Thomas Aquinas' Tristan Davis had 37 yards.
The Missouri offense was stagnant for much of the game, failing to get much traction going. The best drive came in the third quarter. Starting at its own 21, Missouri got a 48-yard passing play from Javion Shelby of Kansas City Central to Rod Criss of Staley, and a roughing the passer penalty gave Missouri an extra five yards as Criss made it the Kansas 10-yard line.
The drive stalled out from there with three rushes for minus 6 yards. A pass to Criss on fourth down came up five yards short of the goal line.
In the second quarter, going from its own 12 to the Kansas 40-yard line, but turning the ball over on downs. The drive was kept alive by two pass interference penalties on Kansas.
Shelby was named the Missouri MVP, rushing for 36 yards and passing for another 48. The rest of the Missouri offense struggled to put up yards, especially rushing.
Outside of Shelby's performance, the other running backs/quarterbacks ran for a total of 13 yards on 21 carries.
The contest ended when Olathe East's TyJuan Lewis intercepted a pass at the 2-yard line to thwart Missouri's last-chance scoring opportunity.