The Raymore-Peculiar Panthers (4-5) ended their regular season on a positive note Friday night at Lee’s Summit North High School.
The Broncos (2-7) started off the year 2-0, beating Class 5 schools Hickman and Ruskin, but were outscored 257-63 during the final seven games of the year, rendering their team last in Districts.
Ray-Pec needed a game like the one they had Friday night to give themselves a bit of confidence heading into the District Tournament next week, as two huge losses to Lee’s Summit West and Blue Springs over the last two weeks had left the team looking somewhat dejected.
The game against Lee’s Summit North belonged to the Panthers’ junior running back Isaiah Truss. He finished the game with 32 carries for 204 yards (6.4 yards per carry) and four touchdowns.
“From Week 2 on he has been one of our top guys,” said head coach Tom Kruse after the game.
“He’s got a chance to be something special.”
Truss, along with senior quarterback Blake Skeed, were able to pace the offense, creating productive drives. Each of the players started the year in the secondary spot at their respected positions. Over the past weeks, Truss broke out and proved himself to be the best running back on the team, while Skeed had to step into a starting quarterback position due to Reed Davis’ concussion.
Lee’s Summit North got the ball to begin the game and worked out a three-minute opening drive that ended in seven points for the home team. The Broncos’ first play from scrimmage was a 33-yard pass from quarterback Matt Brumfield to wide-out Nick Ackland.
For a moment, it seemed as though Lee’s Summit North would be able to out-duel the Panthers through the air. Fortunately for Ray-Pec, the Broncos passing game cooled off quickly, as their starting quarterback was forced out of the game in the first series and their team only caught seven of the 25 other passes that would be thrown in the rest of the game. In fact, after their opening score, Lee’s Summit North allowed Raymore-Peculiar to go on a 45-0 run.
“I was really pleased with our offensive line tonight. We were able to just run the football,” said Kruse.
After the Panthers punted the ball on their first possession, they were able to get the ball back with just under seven minutes to play in the quarter. Isaiah Truss brought his team to life with a 60-yard run on the first play, taking the ball all the way to the Broncos’ 37-yard line. Truss would cross into the end zone a few plays later with just under three minutes to play in the quarter.
Truss went on to score two more TDs before halftime and Skeed found senior Scotty Schaffner on a 27-yard pass for another touchdown. With all of the roster adjustments that have taken place this year, it appeared as though everyone on the Ray-Pec side of the ball settled into their roles Friday night.
“Skeed has done a great job for us all season” Kruse said.
“I really felt like this was the kind of game that he can manage and control.”
The Panthers’ defense was unable to get a turnover all night, but the group still was able to stifle the home team’s offense, keeping them scoreless for the 45-point stretch that defined the game for Ray-Pec.
“I thought that defensively our pressure was fantastic,” added Kruse.
Now the Panthers will be getting ready for a rematch with Liberty (6-3) in the first round of Districts. The Blue Jays blew out Raymore-Peculiar in Week 2 of this year, earning a 47-14 win at Panther Stadium.
Liberty is definitely not bullet-proof, though, as they lost to Lee’s Summit by three points (who Ray-Pec played closely as well), beat Rock Bridge by one point (who Ray-Pec beat by ten), and lost to Blue Springs South by twelve (who Ray-Pec lost to by three in double overtime).
So even though the Blue Jays took care of the Panthers easily earlier in the year, Raymore-Peculiar can have some confidence coming off a win like the one they just had at Lee’s Summit North.
“We’re a different team [from the beginning of the year], they’re a different team.” said Coach Kruse.
“I think if we can come out and establish the running game we can compete with people.”
Ray-Pec will be traveling to Liberty, taking on the Blue Jays at William Jewell University next Friday, November 1, at 7:00 p.m.