The Class 5, District 6 championship celebration didn’t last very long for Lee’s Summit West after beating Willard 47-8 Nov. 11 at Titan Stadium.
A quick raise of the trophy, a quick cheer. Nothing elaborate, nothing showy. It’s on to the next game for the Titans – a quarterfinal match up against Kickapoo on the road at 1:30 p.m. Nov. 16.
“This is where it stopped for us last year and our men understand it,” Titan head coach Royce Boehm said. “They know that, so we’ve got something to prove to ourselves.”
Last year, Ozark ended the Titans’ season in the state quarterfinals and the Titans aren’t taking anyone lightly this year in trying to win their second state title in four years.
“Every game is we’re playing Blue Springs,” Boehm said. “That’s the mentality that we’ve got to have. The mentality is we’ve got to prepare (as if) we’re playing Blue Springs week in and week out.”
Blue Springs, last year’s Class 6 champion and a favorite to repeat this year, handed LSW (10-1) its only loss of the season, 42-35, Sept. 20.
“It brought us back down to earth,” Boehm said of the loss. “It kept us very humble.”
The Titans used big play after big play to run away from Willard, but early it looked as if Willard would hang around.
Monte Harrison punched in West’s first touchdown from the 1 following a 55-yard reception from Thomas Ganaden on its first drive of the game. Taking advantage of a short field after a six-yard Willard punt, Brenner Clemons took the snap and ran 19 yards down the right side to put LSW up 14-0 halfway through the first quarter.
Willard’s quarterback Kyle Smith scored on a 33-yard run and then converted a pass to Tanner Moore on the 2-point conversion to pull within 14-8 with less than a minute left in the first. The Tigers followed up with a stop after giving the Titans on a short field because of a five-yard kickoff, and Tanner Martin missed wide left on a 32-yard field goal attempt.
“It seemed like the momentum might have shifted a little bit,” Boehm said, “but I tell you what, the kids stuck it up and stepped up and answered the challenge.”
The Tigers never threatened to score again in the game as the Titan defense came up with stop after stop on third and fourth downs.
Stopping the Tigers at midfield on defense, the offense only took three plays to score. Andrew Palmer converted a third-and-inches into a 41-yard touchdown run at the 5:18 mark in the second.
Palmer rushed for 99 yards on five attempts and scored twice. His last capped off the scoring for the night.
Ryan Williams made it 28-8 just before half with an 12-yard run that followed a 44-yard reception.
“We are so blessed right there in the running back game with our kids,” Boehm said. “We can put any one of the five out there and the thing about it is nobody’s seen Monte back there yet because we’ve been able to be successful with the five, six guys that we have.”
The Titans rushed for 236 yards as a team on just 27 carries.
Clemons scored again, this time a 26-yard scamper with 4:58 left in the third. The next offensive play after a three-and-out: a Blake Burau reception from 37 yards out to make it 41-8.
Ganaden completed six of his seven passes for 166 yards and threw an interception in the end zone in the third quarter.