Late FG lifts Derby to 17-14 win over Blue Valley in 6A

Derby QB Dan Dawdy delivers a pass during the 6A title game on Saturday. (Sean Kosednar, PrepsKC)
By: Sean Kosednar, PrepsKC staff writer
Nov 26, 2016

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It was deja vu in the 2016 Kansas 6A State Championship game, as the Blue Valley Tigers faced off against the Derby Panthers at Emporia State University.

A Blayton Tullis 21-yard field goal with 27 seconds left lifted the Panthers over Blue Valley for the second consecutive year, 17-14.

As both teams traded punts and turnovers in the fourth quarter Derby junior back Brody Kooser fielded a punt at his 41 and broke off his best return of the day all the way to the Tigers’ 34 yard-line. The Panthers took over with four minutes remaining and the score tied at 14.

Kooser had four rushes for 18 yards and was crucial in getting the Panthers down to the four yard-line setting up the game winning field goal.

Blue Valley’s defense held strong keeping the potent Derby out of the end zone most of the game.

“Good teams make you make mistakes,” Derby head coach Brandon Clark said. “That team was well coached and a very good team, and we were lucky enough to get that last second field goal.”

The Tigers forced two turnovers on the day and had numerous pass breakups.

“Our defense did a tremendous job,” Blue Valley head coach Eric Driskell said. “[Derby] does such a good job defending the pass, and hats off to our kids who played tremendously hard. They have nothing to hang their heads about.”

Blue Valley’s offense was never quite able to get going. The Tigers were held to only 4 yards rushing. Senior running back William Evans could be seen on the exercise bike between possessions trying to stay loose.

Quarterback Matthew Dercher was pressured into three interceptions and one fumble on the day.

“They do a good job of bringing seven in the box and not letting you run the ball,” Driskell said. “Will [Evans] wasn’t healthy, so we did what we could with him. I couldn’t take him out, because he was going to give me all he has.”

A bright spot for the Tigers came as the first half was coming to a close. After driving 40 yards in 30 seconds Blue Valley found themselves on Derby’s 32 yard line with just five seconds remaining. Dercher took the snap, rolled to his right and threw the ball back toward the front left pylon where senior wideout Harrison Van Dyne was running. Van Dyne out jumped the smaller defensive back and took the ball right out of his hands. The 32-yard touchdown put the Tigers up 14-6 going into the half.

“We ran our sprint out game to the side,” Driskell said, “We wanted Harry [Van Dyne] by himself and we said ‘just throw it up to Harry, and he made the play.’”

Despite losing in the final for the second straight year, Driskell still feels this was a successful season for the Tigers.

“I tell the guys, 98 percent of the state wishes they could have had the two seasons we had,” Driskell said. “They have left a lasting legacy and of course it hurts, but they have done things that very few teams get a chance to do so we don’t want to take any of this for granted.”

Blue Valley  0-14-0-0 | 14
Derby            6-0-8-3 | 17

Scoring Summary:
First Quarter:
Derby – Michael Littleton 11-yard pass from Dan Dawdy (kick failed)
Second Quarter:
Blue Valley – Alex Totta 1-yard run (Jackson Likens kick)
Blue Valley – Harrison Van Dyne 32-yard pass from Matthew Dercher (Likens kick)
Third Quarter:
Derby – Kenyon Taber 20-yard pass from Dawdy (Tabor pass from Dawdy)
Fourth Quarter:
Derby – Tullis 21-yard field goal

Individual Statistics:

RUSHING: Blue Valley: William Evans 10-17, Totta 4-3, Gus Gomez 1-(-2), Van Dyne 1-(-3). Derby: Brody Kooser 31-139, Dawdy 4-(-13).

PASSING: Blue Valley: Dercher 24-48-3, 225.  Derby: Dawdy 19-38-1, 224.

RECEIVING: Blue Valley: Van Dyne 7-92, Gomez 7-52, Brown 4-36, Green 4-35.  Derby. Tabor 9-129, Littleton 9-91, Kooser 1-4. 

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