Late game interception derails a Husky comeback in 29-24 loss to Harrisonville

The varsity football team dropped their home-opener against Harrisonville on Friday Sept. 7, 29-24, at the DAC. Junior running back Edward Thomas had 155 rushing yards on 14 rushes with two touchdowns and a fumble in the loss.

Senior Tanner Sample (80) extends to catch the ball in the game against Harrisonville on Sept. 7 at the DAC. The Huskies dropped the game to the Wildcats, 29-24.

Ryan Blank, Nathan Fortune

Ethan Knauth, Online Copy Editor

Finding themselves down by five points after the defense forced a turnover on downs with about a minute left in regulation, the Huskies had their first taste of a two-minute drill situation this season. With over 80 yards to cover, senior quarterback Sam Sliefert connected on three passes to junior receiver Evan Ranallo, totalling 39 yards. In the ensuing play, Sliefert targeted junior receiver Jake Dolesh, but instead the ball hung in the air and fell into the arms of the awaiting Harrisonville defender, ending the Huskies’ chance at a comeback.

Commenting on the final offensive play for the Huskies, head coach Clint Rider said the throwing error by Sliefert was due to the field conditions.

“We’d been going to the boundary and kind of felt like they were going to start adjusting. They had the middle of the field open, so we thought we could take advantage of it,” Rider said. “The ball was kind of slick, and it just hung up in the air. Sam wasn’t trying to throw it that high, it just hung up there.”

Down by 11 points with four minutes to go in the fourth quarter, the defense came up with two turnovers, a fumble recovery and a turnover on downs in order to give the offense a fighting chance. Senior captain and linebacker Jack Hungerford said he was satisfied with all of the 11 players of the defensive side of the ball for providing the team with an opportunity to come back.

“It’s the most proud I’ve ever been of all eleven basically,” Hungerford said. “We buckled down and you know we gave our offense a shot. It’s all we could do.”

Throwing for 238 yards with a touchdown and an interception while rushing for 52 more with a touchdown and a fumble, Sliefert was able to limit his turnovers against the Wildcats. With the injury to sophomore receiver J. Michael Sturdivant, junior Evan Ranallo came through in a big way for the Huskies with seven catches and 105 yards including a touchdown. According to Ranallo, the BVNW coaches asked the remaining receivers to step up in Sturdivant’s absence.

“Our coaches said we’re going to look to you, so go up and get the ball, make as many catches as you can, and try to get in the endzone,” Ranallo said. “That’s what we did and tried to do. It wasn’t enough for the last stretch.”

While being 2-2 in games within seven points or less in the 2017 season, the Huskies dropped their first close game of the 2018 season. Rider said although the end of the game resulted in a loss for BVNW, the varsity team gained much-needed experience for the season ahead.

“It’s one of those things that when you finally do it, you get a little bit more comfortable in those situations,” Rider said. “Hopefully by midseason, we’ll start to capitalize on some of those key plays.”

Following this week’s loss to Harrisonville, the varsity football team will take on Saint Thomas Aquinas on Thursday Sept. 13 at 6:30 p.m at the DAC.