ST. JOSEPH – Despite a delayed start, St. Joseph Benton came firing out of the gates and Grain Valley couldn’t recover.
The Cardinals seized control early on and Grain Valley couldn’t muster much the rest of the way in a 20-7 loss to the Cardinals at Sparks Field at Benton High School.
The game originally scheduled for 7 p.m. ended up starting at 7:40 p.m. due to weather issues, which included the tornado sirens sounding off in St. Joseph.
Two quick scores in the first quarter set the tone for the Cardinals (1-1).
The first score came off an an intended pass play for Benton, but turned into a scramble for junior Cooper Burton. The quarterback made his run on the right side of the field, shedding tacklers and eventually diving over the right pylon for a touchdown.
Benton had just punched in their first touchdown of the game and the defense set up another score.
Late in the first quarter, a Grain Valley snap went clear over the head of junior Tate Collum sending him in hot pursuit to recover the fumbled ball.
As Collum went to scoop it up, he miscalculated the bounce of the ball resulting in one of the biggest miscues for the Eagles all night.
Benton sophomore Jacob Dowell came up with the loose ball, shifting all momentum to the Cardinals.
Benton then found the end zone again.
This time junior Derrien Parks broke free on the right side for a 31-yard dash for a 13-0 edge.
The mistakes piled up for the Eagles in the second quarter.
Another fumble on their own 33-yard line set up Benton in Eagles territory.
Cooper Burton found his brother, Devon Burton, on a wide open post route for the third score of the game, creating a 20-0 gap right before the half.
“They capitalized on mistakes and we didn’t,” Grain Valley coach David Allie said. “In conditions like this, turnovers are going to happen.”
Near the end of the third quarter, the Eagles (1-1) Collum scored on a 3-yard plunge for the team’s lone score. The Eagles totaled only 178 total yards on offense.
The field conditions played a major factor as neither the Cardinals nor the Eagles could never quite hold onto the ball. The ball went to the soggy field a combined 11 times.