Failed two-point conversion ends Huskies season in 28-27 loss to Lawrence

The varsity football team lost to Lawrence High School, 28-27 in the first round of postseason play Friday Oct. 27. Sophomore running back Edward Thomas rushed 23 times for 148 yards and a touchdown in the loss.

Gabe Swartz, Editor-in-Chief

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LAWRENCE- At the conclusion of Blue Valley Northwest’s first round postseason matchup against Lawrence High School Friday Oct. 27, one thing was for certain. Head coach Clint Rider made a move few others would have, in a game few expected the Huskies to even be competitive in.

With 1:31 remaining in the fourth quarter and the Huskies trailing the Lions 28-27, senior Jackson Heath lined up in the Huskies ‘Powercat’ formation for a two-point conversion attempt. The attempt- which came after a miraculous 20-yard touchdown run by senior Garrett Parks- would end up failing as Heath was stopped at the 2-yard line.

Although the Huskies came up short at the goal line, and the decision by Rider failed, does not mean it was not the right decision for the coach to make. On a night where the Huskies offense had over 300 yards rushing, was on the road in adverse weather conditions and were the lower seed, Rider’s move seemed rational at the time.

“You play to win the game,” Rider said. “I’ll take the heat for that one, but we’re going to play to win.”

Rider passed on an almost-automatic extra point from senior kicker Nick Young, who had not missed all year, electing instead to put the ball in the hands of Heath, who had rushed 20 times for 154 yards and a touchdown to that point on the night. Heath said he thought the unconventional offensive approach presented the Lions with plenty of matchup issues, and caught them off-guard.

“It was a hell of a time,” Heath, who added 5 catches for 36 yards on the night said. “They obviously weren’t ready for it, and I think we executed it about as well as we could right there.”

A failed onside kick gave the Lions the ball and they were able to ice the clock away, securing a 28-27 victory over the Huskies.

On the first play from scrimmage, Lawrence rushed for a 64-yard touchdown, giving them an early 7-0 lead. From that point on Rider said the defense stepped up and played a crucial role in keeping the Huskies within striking distance.

“I thought for the most part we shored up a lot of things,” Rider said. “I thought our guys flew to the ball really well, I thought we got great play from our defensive line, and just kind of helped corral him, our guys were sprinting to the football and just had great effort all night.”

After multiple instances in which the Huskies offense failed to pick up a 4th down conversion, or turned the ball over. The Huskies defense was quick to cover up those mistakes, forcing two turnovers of their own on fumble recoveries by junior linebacker Jack Hungerford and senior linebacker Jack Baird.

With the loss, the Huskies wrapped up Rider’s first season as the head coach, going 2-7 for the 2017 campaign. Meanwhile, the Lions with the win advance in the playoffs to face Olathe North next week. Rider said despite the loss, he remains proud of the contributions of his seniors.

“I’ve been saying all year they could’ve bailed when things got tough,” Rider said, “and they stuck with us and did everything we asked and went through the summer and went through bootcamp. Everything they’ve done, we’re just really grateful for the foundation that they’ve laid for the future of our program.”