Camden Sprouse threw for 218 yards and ran for three touchdowns as the Blue Springs South Jaguars took advantage of five second half Staley turnovers and defeated the previously unbeaten Falcons 31-21 Friday night at the District Activities Complex on the campus of Staley High School.
Blue Springs South (2-2) head coach Jon Oyler was impressed with Sprouse’s play.
“Camden is a good kid, and he’s gotten better every single week,” Oyler said. “We’ve been seeing it in practice for a while now, and when he gets his feet underneath him and relaxes, he makes some nice throws, which we saw tonight.”
The Jaguars only touchdown pass came from an unlikely source on an unlikely play. On South’s second drive of the game, the Jaguars were lined up for a 35-yard field goal when backup quarterback Cale Connors fumbled the snap, but recovered and found Ethan Swanegan for an 18-yard touchdown capping a 62-yard drive for the Jaguars.
Staley (3-1) would answer right back. Starting quarterback John Raybourn found Mark Robinson for a 43 yard touchdown pass tying the game at 7-7 late in the first quarter.
After the teams traded punts, Blue Springs South mounted a 12 play, 82 yard drive resulting in a 26-yard field goal from Jake Roark to give the Jaguars a 10-7 lead.
Staley again responded with a six-play 80 yard drive capped off by a Julian Ross 2-yard touchdown run. On that drive, Ross ripped off back-to-back runs of 36 and 15 yards that allowed the Falcons to move down the field for the go-ahead score.
On the ensuing kickoff, Justin Belcher returned the ball to the South 46 yard line and Staley was flagged for a 15-yard face mask penalty, setting up South at the Staley 36. Late in the first half, the Jaguars drove the ball to the Staley 12 where Sprouse kept the ball on an option and rumbled in giving the Jaguars a 17-14 halftime lead they would not relinquish.
While neither team turned the ball over in the first half, the second half was a different story. Staley turned the ball over five times, which was the difference in the game, Oyler said.
“The turnovers were huge. To get the off the field and give the ball back to our offense time and time again – as well as run clock in the second half – was huge.”
The first of the five turnovers came on a fumbled punt, with Blue Springs South recovering at the Staley 19 yard line. Sprouse came up big on a 3rd and 17, finding wideout Sage Nelson for a pickup of 18 yards and a first and goal. Three plays later, Sprouse carried it in from five yards out for a 24-14 Jaguars advantage with 8:30 left in the 3rd quarter.
The Falcons then drove the ball to the Jaguars 24, where the Jags would force Raybourn to fumble with South taking over on its own 25. However, the Jaguars would not score and both teams were held scoreless the remainder of the quarter.
Early in the 4th quarter, Staley would again fumble a punt return with South recovering on the Staley 41 yard line. Sprouse and the Jaguars would put the game away for good, with Sprouse taking in his third rushing touchdown of the night from two yards out to give the Jaguars a 31-14 lead with 6:50 left in the game. The drive was highlighted by another big 3rd down completion from Sprouse to Swanegan on a 3rd and 22.
“Our staff does a phenomenal job coaching on the offensive side of the ball, and those third down plays are situational plays we work on a regular basis,” Oyler said.
Staley quarterback John Raybourn left midway through the third quarter with an injury with backup quarterback Mo Karim filling in. Karim led the Falcons on their final scoring drive of the night, a five play 55 yard drive capped by an 11-yard touchdown pass from Karim to tight end Trey Mabion. It was too late for the Falcons, as the Jaguars were able to run out the clock for the 31-21 victory.
Though Staley outgained Blue Springs South in total yards by a count of 393 – 311, the five turnovers proved costly in the second half.
Staley running back Julian Ross finished with 134 yards rushing on 21 carries and a touchdown.
Blue Springs South will cross the state line as it travels to Olathe North next week. Staley hits the road for a battle at Fort Osage.