Kansas wins high school border showdown
Kansas hadn't won the Kansas City Metro All-Star Challenge in six years.
Tonganoxie graduate Jeff Hughes heard the trash talk: Raymore-Peculiar (Mo.) High's Derrick Washington, who will play next season for the University of Missouri, would run all over Kansas. Missouri would win like it does every year.
Behind a stellar defensive performance, Kansas defeated Missouri, 6-3, on Thursday at Blue Valley District Stadium in Stilwell.
"The d-line up front got it done," said Hughes, who played free safety for Kansas. "If they didn't get it, the linebackers sure weren't going to let anything happen. It's good if the secondary doesn't have to make a lot of tackles."
Kansas' defense played so well that Missouri only converted one first down the entire first half, and it was off a Kansas penalty.
Hughes said the game was relatively clean. Not too much trash talking took place once the game started. Plus, that's not Hughes' style.
"We were always taught at Tongie to just say, 'Scoreboard,'" said Hughes, who will play wide receiver next season for Washburn University.
THS graduate Justin McDaniel joined Hughes on the Kansas defensive unit. McDaniel will play defensive end next season at Baker.
"It was a lot different," McDaniel said. "This was preparation for college because we're going to see people like that. We were going up against the best of the best from all around."
Kansas scored its points off two field goals from Shawnee Mission West's Jared Witter.
Hughes said his favorite part of the game was being on the field for Missouri's last attempt to win the game. After a few pass attempts, Missouri missed a field goal with seconds remaining. Kansas set up in game-winning formation and kneeled the ball for the victory.
"It was intense and quick," Hughes said. "I had to make all these reads and calls. We just ran a cover-three (defense) in Tongie, so this was a drastic change. Once you pick it up, you pick it up quickly. I'm pretty sure this will be the pace in college."
Hughes and McDaniel played mostly with Class 6A football players. Hughes said the smallest high schools represented aside from Tonganoxie were Kansas City Piper and Paola.
The first day of practice for Hughes at Washburn is Aug. 2, while McDaniel will start practice in Baldwin on Aug. 13.