[dropcap size=”4″]R[/dropcap]ock Bridge High School fans braved frigid conditions with temperatures dropping to 39 degrees to watch the Bruins [9-1] take on the Blue Springs South Jaguars[4-6], in the district semifinal play on Friday, Oct. 27.
The game’s tone was set early in the first quarter with strong defense from both sides.
However, on the Jaguars third drive, they pushed into RBHS territory for the first time, but a Blue Springs South block in the back penalty took the momentum away, and forced a punt.
At the Blue Spring South 20 yard line, the Bruins received their first chance to score in the third quarter, as sophomore kicker Will Norris lined up for a field goal. The attempt was blocked and the Jaguars took over with 7:29 left in the third quarter, still tied at nothing.
On the same possession, Blue Springs South made it to the Bruins 24 yard line, leading to the first points of the game with a pass to the back corner of the endzone. This resulted in a Jaguar’s 7-0 lead.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Jaguars forced a RBHS fumble, taking over at the Bruins 19 yard line. The defense however, stayed strong and limited the damage to a field goal, and a ten point deficit.
RBHS responded quickly, with Norris driving into the Jaguar red zone, and converted a 33 yard field goal with 11:12 left to play in the game.
After forcing a three and out, the Bruins once again pushed into Blue Springs South territory. On the fourth down, Twehous connected with sophomore wide receiver Zach Boyles for a game tying touchdown 10-10, with 6:33 left to play.
After senior quarterback Trevor Twehous, made his final start of his high school football career, he noted he will remember his last season.
“I’m always going to have a good feeling about [my final season] because as a team we all acted like family, and no one thought they were better than everyone else,” Twehous said. “Coach [Vanatta] did a great job coaching us and making all of us confident in ourselves.”
As regulation came to an end, both teams traded turnovers on consecutive plays, leading to overtime.
Winning the toss, Blue Springs South elected to get the ball second.
The Bruins offense was shut down by the Jaguars potent defense, and quickly led to a fourth down. Will Norris came on, and nailed a 41 yard field goal, which gave Rock Bridge their first lead in the game 13-10.
Next, it was the Jaguar’s turn on offense and on their first play they completed a 24 yard pass play to the Bruin’s one yard line. On the next play, a Blue Springs South run play up the middle, resulted in a touchdown and put an end to RBHS’ trip to the state championship and their season.
Although the game went into overtime, the Bruins game plan didn’t change from regulation said Bruins Head Coach Van Vanatta.
“There is never a game plan in overtime, we put points on the board early and just missed a tackle from changing the pass play to the one yard line,” Vanatta said.
Despite RBHS’ disappointing loss and end to the season, junior offensive lineman DJ Baker is happy about how the season went.
“This season was one of my favorite seasons I’ve ever played. I really like the new coach, our team played hard, and fast the whole way,” Baker said. “If I had to describe this last game, it would be heartbreaking, we had a really good season,” Baker said. “I thought we might be able to go a little farther, but the cards on the table didn’t play out.”
The Bruins finished the 2017 season [9-2], which was an impressive improvement from last year [2-8].
“My first season at Rock Bridge has gone better than expected. The Seniors have set an example for others to follow and did a great job leading this team to a successful 9-2 season,” Vanatta said. “Unfortunately, only one team can be great at the end. But this 2017 Bruins Football team over exceeded any of my expectations and couldn’t be prouder.”
Blue Springs South will continue their season against Blue Springs next Friday, Nov. 3.
What was the best part of this year’s football season? Let us know in the comments below.