Smithville outlasts Grain Valley for road win

Smithville senior quarterback Spencer Miller eyes open field during a jamboree with Liberty Aug. 20. Spencer and twin brother Isaac Miller led the Warriors to a win at Grain Valley on Friday, Sept. 13.

GRAIN VALLEY — In Smithville’s first true test of the season, the Warriors took care of business. Smithville outlasted Grain Valley 40-29 in a battle of unbeaten Suburban Blue squads on Friday, Sept. 13, at Grain Valley High School.

Leading by a field goal after three quarters, Smithville senior running back Isaac Miller added two touchdowns to his strong night, and Evan Verhulst knocked through his second field goal to win the final frame 15-7 to edge out the Eagles on their home field.

“It was an unbelievable win,” Smithville coach Jason Ambroson said. “We had our backs against the wall a few times and our kids just rose to the challenge.”

The Warriors, who host Raytown South Friday, Sept. 20, moved to 3-0 on the season, the fourth straight year the team has started with that mark.

“It’s great from a confidence standpoint,” Ambroson said. “We keep the focus on us and how we’re going to get better as a football team. That’s what this is. We hope that we can improve every week to put ourselves in a position to be the best we can be at the end of the season. And I think our kids have adopted that.”

Miller and twin brother Spencer Miller led the Warriors offensively. Isaac rushed for 169 yards and four touchdowns on 32 carries, while Spencer was 17 of 22 passing for 232 yards and a passing touchdown.

“They were tremendous,” Ambroson said of the backfield duo. “TheySpencer threw for over 200 yards and Isaac had some tough yards against a really good defense. Those things were big.”

Grain Valley (2-1) struck first when Logan Pratt caught a 35-yard touchdown pass from Parker Bosserman only minutes into the game. Isaac Miller rushed for his first score from seven yards out to knot the score at 7-all with 1:21 left in the first quarter.

Miller then scored on a short touchdown run more than a minute into the second frame to give the Warriors a 14-7 advantage.

After Gavin Oyler tied it up at 14-14, Verhulst put the lead back into the Warriors’ favor with a 27-yard field goal with 26 ticks left before halftime.

The two sides each tallied TDs in the third quarter before the Warriors took care of business in the final 12 minutes, relying on the legs of Isaac Miller and the right foot of Verhulst.

“I felt like we had complete control of the tempo and control of the game outside of three big plays,” Ambroson said. “You give them credit, they’re a good football team.

“It wasn’t always pretty,” he added, “but it was effective and it was a tremendous team victory.”

Smithville moved up to No. 5 in the Missouri Media Rankings, a one-spot jump from last week.

Smithville stays in conference play this week with a home contest against Raytown South (1-2) on Friday, Sept. 20. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

Sports Editor Adam Burns can be reached at adam.burns@mycouriertribune.com or 389-6643.​

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