Bulldogs fall in defensive battle with Grain Valley

Kearney’s Jacob Stevens makes a play in a game against Belton on Oct. 4. The Bulldogs dropped a 15-7 loss at Grain Valley on Friday, Oct. 11.

GRAIN VALLEY — From the 20 to the 20, the Kearney Bulldogs put some impressive drives together on the road against the Grain Valley Eagles.

Kearney scored on its first possession but didn’t score again despite taking the football inside the Grain Valley 30-yard line three more times Friday, Oct. 11.

The Bulldogs turned the ball over at the 24-yard line and had a pair of costly interceptions inside the 20 in a 15-7 loss.

“Defensively, I thought we played one of our best football games,” Kearney coach Josh Gray said. “They have been jelling and doing a great job.”

The Bulldogs made some big stops to get its offense back on the field. Kearney allowed two touchdowns, and one of those was set up by a blocked punt.

“Defensively, they know that is their job, no matter where the other team has the football,” Gray said. “Our kids battled and played hard the entire game. There was no quit in them. I love the kids we have; they work hard and are a great group of kids..”

Kearney took advantage of a short field on its opening drive, scoring on a 15-yard touchdown pass from Ian Acosta to wide receiver Gavin Smith for a 7-0 lead.

Grain Valley answered with a 76-yard drive, scoring on a 4-yard touchdown run for an 8-7 lead in the second quarter. The Eagles ran for the two-point conversion, taking an 8-7 lead.

Kearney came right back, driving the ball to the Grain Valley 7-yard line on a first down run by Garrett Laughlin. They, however, had a pass intercepted, thwarting the scoring opportunity.

Grain Valley put a drive together, but Kearney was able to deny the Eagles and force a punt.Kearney had a punt blocked, giving Grain Valley the ball at the Bulldogs’ 37-yard line. Grain Valley capitalized, scoring on a touchdown pass for a 15-7 lead.

Kearney kept Grain Valley scoreless in the second half but could not put another scoring drive together in the loss.

Kearney held Grain Valley to open the third quarter and got the ball back at its own 47-yard line. Acosta rolled out of the pocket to his right and eluded a defender diving for his feet. He then threw a pass down the sideline that Laughlin hauled in with one hand for the first down.

The Bulldogs marched to the 15-yard line and had another interception to stop the drive.

Kearney ran more plays (60 to 47) and had more first downs (18 to 13) in the contest. The Bulldogs were penalized eight times for 65 yards.

Garrett Laughlin ran for 102 yards on 27 carries. Jacob Stevens had 149 all-purpose yards, collecting five receptions for 39 yards and 26 yards rushing on two carries and 84 yards on punt and kickoff returns. Acosta completed 13 of 22 passes for 106 yards and one touchdown.

Corbin Bevan had a huge run in the contest, picking up 51 yards.

Carson Frakes caught three passes for 37 yards. His longest reception of the game went for 15 yards.

Smith caught one pass for the touchdown. Trevor Fritz and Logan Arellano each had one reception.Bevan led the Kearney defense with 12 tackles, including 10 solo tackles. Anthony Wadsworth made eight tackles, and Tucker Stute had seven.

Dawson Meinert collected five tackles, while John Walters, Colby McBride and Colt Post each had four tackles. Swain had a quarterback sack. McBride had a deflection to break up a pass play. Walters caused a fumble and Meinert recovered the loose ball.

The Bulldogs host Raytown South (2-5) on Friday, Oct. 18.

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