Who would have thought Hutchinson’s Lucas Munds and Kapaun Mt. Carmel’s Luke Bean would have so much in common?
In the 5A state semi-final game against Bishop Carroll, Hutchinson’s Ja’Mon Cotton hurt his knee and had to come out of the game after the first quarter. Munds came in, picked up the slack and scored three touchdowns en route to a win over Carroll and eventually a state championship.
Earlier in the week, before East and West teams reported to camp for preparation and practice, Bean was unable to make the roster. Cotton then received a phone call from his head coach Randy Dreiling informing him that he could play if he wanted.
In much the same way Munds stepped in for Cotton, Cotton stepped in for Bean. Twelve carries, 60 yards and a nine-yard touchdown run later, Cotton was named the Most Valuable Player for the West squad. The score put West up 14-7, the final.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” said Cotton. “It was the best thing that could have happened to me. I thought I was going to be watching the game on TV at home. Now I’m here and got the MVP, it couldn’t have worked out better.”
Cotton’s touchdown run capped a fast-paced eight-play, 76-yard drive. West was fast but banausic in its drive downfield. When it did get down to the nine, the West offensive line opened a gaping hole for Cotton to make one juke and waltz into the end zone.
“That score was big,” said Cotton. “It gave us a lot of momentum. (Buhler’s) Tanner Fisher and (Clearwater’s) Jarrod Nickelson were great lead blockers for me tonight. Our offensive line stepped up tonight.”
Before the West touchdown, East was in business with momentum of its own, and it wasn’t for sale.
West tried a trick play where quarterback Matt Reed threw straight out to Manhattan’s Deante Burton and Burton threw up-field to McPherson’s Jordan Hart. The ball was under-thrown and Hart had put on the brakes and come back for it. Lawrence’s Anthony Buffalomeat was in terrific coverage and intercepted the pass. Buffalomeat returned it 13 yards.
East was unable to do anything on the drive, though, and was forced to punt.
In the first half, Wichita Heights’ Matt Reed hit a wide-open Collin Sexton (Abilene) for a 54-yard score to go up 6-0. Reed then found Hart for the successful two-point conversion.
“I’m going to miss (football),” said Reed. “Tonight, we can say we didn’t let the streak end, we just kept it going.”
“West side is the best side!” said Cotton after the game.
Down 8-0 a few minutes into the second quarter, Blue Valley Northwest standout Garrett Fugate found Centralia’s Michael Glatczak for the 55-yard touchdown. It was East’s first and only score of the bowl game.
With the win, West secured bragging rights for another year and the seventh straight year. West Head Coach Brian Hill of Garden City said the coaches didn’t have to use the streak as much motivation throughout the week of practices.
“We didn’t really talk too much about it,” he said. “The Shriners did that for us. I don’t think the guys wanted to be the team that ended the streak. It was just great to be playing for a bigger cause.”
That bigger cause was, of course, the Shriner’s hospital.
Reed said it was a great feeling to meet some of the patients and staff of the St. Louis hospital.
“It was awesome meeting them and knowing we were coming out here for a bigger purpose,” he said.
NOTES: Reed is signed to wrestle for the University of Oklahoma next year and plans to walk-on to the football team in Norman. – Centralia’s Michael Glatczak was the third straight Glatczak to participate in the Shrine Bowl, but it turned out the third time wasn’t the charm for East despite his outstanding game. He passed for 26 yards and caught five passes for 87 yards and a touchdown.