Marcos Garcia, Will Schneider power Shawnee Mission North to first ‘Hula Bowl’ victory over SM Northwest since 2008

Marcos Garcia dashed away from the SM Northwest defense for his third touchdown of the night.
Marcos Garcia dashed away from the SM Northwest defense for his third touchdown of the night.

It’s the best Shawnee Mission North football season in more than a decade — and there’s still a game of the regular season to be played.

With a 61-38 drubbing of district rival Shawnee Mission Northwest on Friday, the Indians ensured they would finish the year with at least four wins, a feat the program hasn’t accomplished since 2004, when they went 5-4 on the year. What’s more, they took the “Hula Bowl,” as the SM North-SM Northwest game is called by students, for the first time since 2008.

Coming off a 40-30 victory over Leavenworth last week, the Indians’ offense had plenty of momentum heading into Friday’s matchup. Senior quarterback Will Schneider, who has started for the Indians since he was a freshman, wasted little time getting the Indians on the board, piloting them down the field on the opening possession for a drive he capped off with a keeper for a touchdown. Cougar quarterback Caleb Johnson responded with a keeper touchdown of his own, but SM Northwest missed its extra point attempt, putting the score at 7-6 midway through the first quarter.

Though their defense struggled to contain the Cougars’ Johnson and speedy senior running back Xavier Perry, SM North would never trail in the game, and used a variety of offensive weapons to drive down the field. In addition to his keeper, Schneider threw for four touchdowns — two to Avante Williams, one to Billy Conaway, and one to Trevon Kleint. But perhaps the brightest star on the night for SM North was running back Marcos Garcia, who busted away for three big touchdown runs, including a 59-yard sprint in the third quarter.

“We’ve been waiting for Marcos to have that breakout game coming back from an injury,” Indians head coach Ben Bartlett said. “He ran with a passion tonight.”

Garcia was quick to credit the work of the offensive line for his success.

“For a running back, that’s all you count on,” he said. “They give me three seconds, and I’ll get the job done for them. It’s all about them.”

Schneider said the team would be motivated to secure a winning record in its final regular season game of the week next year, when they face Olathe South. The Falcons have had a down year and currently stand at 2-5 — but they’ll be coming off a big win Friday against Leavenworth.

“At the beginning of the season, we knew we had to set goals,” he said. “Our first goal was to beat Northwest — we’ve finally gotten there. Now we can move down the line. Now we’ve got a chance to be above .500.”

Will Schneider threw for four touchdowns and scored another on a keeper in the Indians' 61-38 win over SM Northwest.
Will Schneider threw for four touchdowns and scored another on a keeper in the Indians’ 61-38 win over SM Northwest.