Just as Shawnee Mission East coach Dustin Delaney went for two in overtime against Olathe North to send the Lancers to the state championship in 2014, Blue Valley coach Eric Driskell did the same thing on Friday night with Delaney on the opposite sideline.
Senior quarterback Matt Dercher connected with junior wide outBlake Brown in the back left corner of the end zone to give the Tigers a 35-34 overtime victory setting up a rematch of last year’s Class 6A state title game against Derby.
“I felt like we had a play we had been working on and the decoy is to our No. 1 receiver (Harrison Van Dyne),” Driskell said. “Just felt like it was the right time. We hadn’t ran it all year.”
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The two-point conversion was set up by Dercher hitting senior receiver Van Dyne for a 10-yard touchdown.
Down by eight with 9:29 left, Shawnee Mission East had its back against the wall as Blue Valley had it first and goal at the Lancer 10 yard line. But the Lancer defense came up with three stops to set up a fourth down from the two and Driskell, after calling a timeout, elected to go for it instead of kicking a field goal to give his team a two-possession lead.
Senior running back Will Evans, who scored thrice on the night, took the direct snap, almost fumbled it, and was stuffed at the three giving the Lancers the ball back with 7:35 remaining.
“It was awesome,” Delaney said. “The kids battled through adversity, making plays when they needed to and we came up one play short tonight. Credit Blue Valley, great players, great staff, great tradition. I’m proud of my kids and we came on the wrong end of the last play.”
SM East junior running back Milton Braassh, who opened the second half with a 77-yard touchdown run to tie the game 13-13, and senior Nigil Houston helped move the ball out to the 50. One play and a hold later Delaney called for a trick play on 2nd and 18 that, as it was unfolding, seemed to be a sure touchdown.
Senior quarterback Luke Kaiser took the snap and pitched it to senior Trevor Thompson. Instead of completing the run, Thompson stopped and threw the ball to sophomore Andy Maddox, who had found himself behind the defense, but Maddox dropped the ball.
Kaiser went to Thompson on back-to-back plays for 12 and 13 yards, respectively, to keep the drive alive.
After 18 plays and 97 yards, the Lancers found pay dirt on a 6:35 drive as Houston took a fourth-down carry 13 yards with one minute to go to force overtime.
Delaney needed to go for two, and he was able to convert as Thompson took a pitch, followed his blocks and sped to the pylon.
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Houston earlier scored on a fourth-down run of 31 yards to pull SM East within 20-19, but a poor kick kept Blue Valley in the lead.
The Tigers would add to the lead as Dercher hit Brown for a 40-yard catch and run, which saw Brown spin to elude a defender.
Blue Valley and Derby will kick off at 1 p.m., at Emporia State on Nov. 26. Derby won last year 27-14.
“Hats off to Shawnee Mission East, they’re a great football team,” Driskell said. “It was mano y mano, hit for hit, back and forth, just a great battle. I’m proud of our kids for making the plays when they counted.”