Chiefs' rampage buries St. Mary's
INDEPENDENCE -- After four loss to Santa Fe over a 14-month span, Coach David Corbin and his St. Mary's team can identify with the lyrics from Soundgarden: "I'm feelin' outshined, outshined, outshined, outshined."
The Trojans came out firing, twice taking leads during the first quarter. But they couldn't avoid the catastrophic mistakes which have plagued them in the past and wound up as the Chiefs' 25th straight victim during Monday's MSHSAA Class A Sectional at Independence, 47-9.
"We flip-flopped it," remarked Santa Fe head coach Bill Fox "We gave them some points in the first quarter and shut them out the last three quarters."
The Chiefs hadn't been scored upon yet this season during the first half until St. Mary's opened the game with a 12-play drive -- keyed by runs of 21 and 13 yards by junior Matt Logan -- to set up senior Adam Gilbert's 33-yard field goal.
Then, after forcing Santa Fe to punt, the Trojans did what Corbin said they could not do: turn the ball over, fumbling on their own 37-yard line. Senior Roger Feagan connected with senior Leonard Fitzwater on a 24-yard pass and senior Brad McCleary covered the remaining 13 yards on two runs -- then tacking on a two-point conversion -- to make it 8-3.
"Getting behind for a period of time is part of the game," Fox said. "We knew what we had to do."
So did St. Mary's, which stormed back to take the lead. Logan rumbled for 34 yards and junior Graham McGhee found senior John Salva with a 17-yard strike. A 3-yard Logan run put the Trojans ahead by a point, but senior Austin Rolf blocked Gilbert's conversion kick.
"We just didn't stop the off-tackle play," noted Santa Fe defensive coordinator Bill Linn. "We were starting some new kids at outside linebacker and they were a little inexperienced."
However, they couldn't maintain the momentum. McCleary's 12-yard dash put the Chiefs into home territory and, on fourth down and 16 yards to go, Feagan hooked up with senior Joe Michael for 24 yards. Senior Daniel Boland twice slithered in from 3 yards out for eight points.
St. Mary's wasn't done. Junior Matt Perkins made a 15-yard catch to reach the Santa Fe 38, but was flagged for pushing off on Boland three plays later -- costing the Trojans 15 yards and a down. Their defense held, but freshman Kurtis Gregory's sack backed them up and a punt snap went over the head of Salva and out of the end zone for a safety.
Leading 18-9, the Chiefs charged into the "red zone" on 12-yard runs by Boland and Feagan, but St. Mary's made a goal-line stand to take over on downs at their own 6-yard line. On the first snap, a handoff exchange was fumbled and senior Josh Buford recovered the ball at the 7-yard line.
Michael took in Feagan's scoring strike and Boland ran for two points, beginning a stretch in which Santa Fe scored three touchdowns in fewer than three minutes.
"Once we drove down and scored, we started playing like we can play," Feagan said. "You could tell they were starting to lose it a little bit."
The Trojans, already staggered, were floored when the Wahoos drove the ball 85 yards in 54 seconds to end the half. Boland caught passes of 39 and 20 yards and, as the gun sounded, Michael turned in near the sideline and found an open lane to the goal line for a 34-9 halftime lead.
If St. Mary's still entertained hopes of a comeback they were dashed when the Chiefs started the second half by racing 56 yards in 49 seconds -- Feagan throwing to Michael for 23 yards and Boland for the final 30 clicks for a 40-9 lead.
Junior Jacob Moenkhoff blew through the middle on a 31-yard touchdown sprint late in the third quarter to set the "continuous clock" in motion. After giving up a pair of 50-yard drives during the first period, Santa Fe's defense only allowed the Trojans (5-6) a total of 31 yards and two first downs the rest of the game.
"We made a few corrections in our scheme," Linn said. As Fox explained, the Chiefs "adjusted the tackles and ends out and we were fine."
So was Feagan, who Fox said "really stepped up," completing 13 of 22 passes for 233 yards and three TDs in leading Santa Fe to its seventh straight sectional round victory. The top-ranked Chiefs (11-0) remain on the road for their quarterfinal contest, Monday at West Platte -- a 34-14 winner over Hogan Prep of Kansas City.
There's a reason Santa Fe hasn't been beaten since the beginning of the 2000 season and has appeared in the last two Show-Me Bowls. St. Mary's senior defensive end Richard Mahurin hit on it on his way to the bus.
"Y'all are a heck of a team," Mahurin shouted to the Chiefs, encased by their fans during the customary "town meeting" following each game. "You played great."