Football exits league play boasting one of top records
In what seemed like a microcosm of this summer's 7-on-7 passing league hosted by De Soto, the Wildcats' Clinton Davis, a defensive back, registered an interception during Ottawa's first offensive series and took it back about 15 yards for a score.
He gave De Soto an early, 1-0 lead, and it never trailed in beating the Cyclones, 4-3, in the first game of the last night of league action.
It set the tone for the night, and much like earlier weeks of the four-week league, how the Cats did early indicated how the rest of the evening would go.
"We seem like we're the kind of team that feeds off emotion and when somebody makes a great play it kind of makes the rest of us want to play a little better, a little harder, to try to make the play to match it," coach Brad Scott said. "So that was great that Clinton could start us off that way."
The Wildcats registered three touchdowns off interceptions on the night, and rolled over Shawnee Mission North, 3-1, in the nightcap giving De Soto a 4-2-2 league record. No league champion is crowned, but De Soto, Gardner, Baldwin, Shawnee Mission North and Eudora were among the teams in the nine-team league boasting the best records.
After Davis staked the Cats to the early lead, both teams had unfruitful possessions before Ottawa knotted the score on a fourth-down conversion.
Logan Clark prevented the Cyclones from taking the lead on the next Ottawa possession by hauling in a pick in the end zone right in front of an opponent. Moments later, under center on the offensive end, Clark found Jamel Townsend in the end zone on a fly route to again nudge De Soto ahead.
Perhaps pleased with how he played at times, Clark said afterward he could improve upon his performance.
"I can, by putting the ball in spots, where they should be, and not underthrowing people," he said.
Clark had a touchdown and two interceptions throwing the ball on the night.
The final two scores in the first game occurred when Daniel Peterson found Dylan Burford for a score on third down, and then on the ensuing Ottawa possession, Burford added some insurance with an interception returned for a touchdown.
Against Shawnee Mission North, the Wildcats got down, 2-0, before the defense locked things up and the offense got rolling. De Soto was dropping some passes, but the big thing for Scott was that the defense responded. He compared the drops to a basketball team simply having a night when shots weren't falling.
"You'll have nights when you're clicking, you'll have nights when you're off," he said. "But we can always play defense. If our defense is doing what it's supposed to do, it'll just keep giving our offense opportunities and then when our offense starts clicking and gets going, we'll be fine.
"We really kind of did what we set out to do which was let our defense put our offense in a position where no matter what's going on, we're always in the ballgame."
Peterson got the Wildcats on the board with a long touchdown to Burford, and Townsend added a touchdown on an interception immediately following. That knotted the score at 2-2.
The Cat defense lifted another interception, seemingly on cue and giving the offense a chance for the victory. A fade to Townsend, thrown to the corner of the end zone by Peterson, gave De Soto the winning score and ensured the winning record.
"We just need to continue to build on what we've been doing," Scott said. "I was real impressed with how well we got defensively by the end."
The remainder of the summer consists of weights and conditioning, which runs until the end of July. Then, it's on to August, pads and answering the remaining question marks the team has.
"There's always going to be four or five kids that are going to surprise you and step up," Scott said. "We're real excited to see who that's going to be for us this year."