In a close game, sometimes the quarterback is the player who has to make the plays.
Blue Springs beat Hickman 17-7 on Saturday at Hickman to advance to the Class 6 state finals. Blue Springs will play Hazelwood Central on Friday in the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis.
A defensive battle forced the Wildcats’ Stinson Dean and the Kewpies’ Blake Tekotte to make the big plays
Tekotte avoided several tackles and scrambled in the pocket to keep plays alive, and Dean completed short passes for small yardage and threw downfield to keep the defense honest.
“They’re tough, I’ve got to give a lot of credit to them,” Tekotte said. “Their quarterback, Stinson Dean, he’s a playmaker.”
Dean, who committed to the University of Wyoming on Thursday, went 15-for-23 for 116 yards and a touchdown. Tekotte was 13-for-24 for 143 yards and a touchdown.
Dean said he wasn’t pleased with his performance, and he said he felt as if publicity affected him.
“I don’t want to say we had a bad game, it’s just they were that good,” Dean said. “I got a lot of press these past couple of weeks, and I think it might have gotten in my head a little, distracted me a little bit, but other than that I shook it off and I was all right.”
Wildcats coach Kelly Donohoe said Dean made the plays he needed to make.
“It wasn’t his best game, he’s usually much better,” Donohoe said. “Part of that was (Hickman) had a great defensive scheme. He’s not happy with the way he performed, but he made enough plays to help us win.”
The Kewpies’ defense held Blue Springs to 208 yards and contained Dean’s passing game. The Wildcats threw short passes in the flats, hoping to gain yards after the catch. Hickman’s defense allowed one big play.
On the opening drive, Dean dumped off a pass to Cameron Harms, who went 55 yards before being tackled at Hickman’s 8.
“The pressure was there, it was just too great for the quarterback to sit back there and throw the ball vertically down the field,” Hickman coach Gregg Nesbitt said. “We also played the screen very well, which is a big part of their success.”
Tekotte never had much time to throw, and the Wildcats sacked him seven times for a loss of 40 yards. Tekotte said Blue Springs’ defense created the problems.
“They brought a lot of blitz packages and unfortunately our line had a couple busts sometimes,” Tekotte said. “Everybody played their butt off ... I couldn’t ask for a better fight, it just didn’t happen.”
Although the statistics didn’t show Tekotte’s performance (he rushed for minus-12 yards on 15 carries), Donohoe said Tekotte’s toughness impressed him.
“He’s an awfully good quarterback; he made a lot of big plays,” Donohoe said. “He’s an excellent quarterback for a junior. (The defensive pressure) affected him a little bit, but still, we gave up more than we wanted to give up.”
Tekotte’s only mistake was costly. Under pressure on fourth-and-11 from the 13, Tekotte lobbed a pass intended for Cedric Alvis. The pass was thrown to the inside of Alvis and cornerback Joey Butler made the interception in the end zone to end the Kewpies’ comeback hopes.
Despite the interception, Tekotte’s play impressed Nesbitt.
“I thought he took his game to another level,” Nesbitt said. “He won’t have the stats to prove it, but I thought he did today.”