Oh, what a night

Photo Credit: Tom Loeffler

WARDSVILLE --- With 2 1/2 minutes left in Friday night's game, it was just another average game for the Blair Oaks Falcons. Blair Oaks 63, Grain Valley 48. Oh, wait, that would be the Blair Oaks boys basketball team, which averaged exactly 63 points and allowed precisely 48 a game last season. No, really, check the stats. Sports can be just plain silly, can't they? But this was football ... and the silly season has officially kicked off. In a staggering 3 hour, 25 minute affair, Daniel Castillo passed for 320 yards and four touchdowns and ran for 109 yards and one score as the Falcons (ranked No. 6 in Class 2) outslugged the Class 4 Eagles 70-48 in a defenseless battle at the Falcon Athletic Complex. This game lasted so long, the folks in the concession stand were planning Saturday morning's breakfast. It was biscuits and gravy and Belgian waffles, by the way. "I've never been a part of a game like this, ever," Blair Oaks coach Brad Drehle said. "With so many plays and so many points scored, it was crazy. If somebody would have told me we'd give up 48 and win, I'd have just laughed out loud." The game of ping pong and offensive whiplash came down to a few critical fourth-down plays in the fourth quarter. Nursing a 50-48 lead early in the fourth, Blair Oaks (2-0) faced a 4th-and-5 at the 37 of Grain Valley (0-2). But Castillo hooked up with Trevor Bax on a 27-yard gain to extend the drive, which resulted in a touchdown. 57-48. After stopping the Eagles on 4th-and-4, the Falcons converted a 4th-and-3 on an 11-yard pass from Castillo to Derek Otto, which led to another touchdown. 63-48. Another stop led by the Blair Oaks defense gave the ball back to the offense, which led to another drive-sustaining fourth-down conversion and score. "Our kids really came up and made the plays when it counted in the fourth quarter," Drehle said. Blair Oaks had the ball deep in Grain Valley territory when the Eagles called timeout with 2:28 left. The Eagles had given up 63 points and they called a timeout, because it still wasn't over. "We were still scared," Drehle said. "When the (Jeramey) Maynard kid can stand there and throw the ball 60 yards, and they have a kid like (Zac) Hoover who can obviously break the big play on you, we knew it wasn't over." When Castillo threw a touchdown pass to Austin Kempker with 2:20 left, it was finally --- and thankfully --- all but over. Except for ordering the waffles. "Daniel had a great game, a tremendous game, on both sides of the ball," Drehle said. "When you think that's only the second game he's played at quarterback, that's pretty impressive. "He's a kid who's worked really hard and has taken to the position." And of the seven different Falcons who caught passes, they made the routine plays, the tough plays, and the really tough plays. "We've got some kids who can catch the football," Drehle said, "and they did a great job tonight." In a game with video-game-like stats, the Falcons led 28-7 after one quarter, 42-35 at half and 50-48 after three. Besides Castillo, other offensive heroes for Blair Oaks --- which piled up 677 yards of offense --- included Otto, who rushed for 120 yards and three touchdowns; Josh Hughes, who gained 119 yards with one score; Tanner Kemna, who snagged eight passes for 88 yards and two scores; Kempker, who caught five for 69 yards and two touchdowns; and Ben Cooper, who caught four for 69 yards. "The offense did a good job, they really did," Drehle said. "(Grain Valley) has tremendous players on that side of the ball, they really do. But tonight, we wanted this game not to be about numbers, but about conditioning. "Our kids have worked their tails off so they could play a game like this." The Eagles racked up 560 yards of offense, with Maynard spearheading the attack with 383 yards passing and five touchdowns. Hoover was another Hall-of-Famer for a night, as he caught five passes for 214 yards and four touchdowns --- all in the first half --- and rushed for 50 yards and a score. In the second quarter, Grain Valley scored touchdowns on three consecutive offensive plays, two of which followed Blair Oaks turnovers. All three were passes from Maynard to Hoover. These things just don't happen. "(Hoover) is tremendous," Drehle said. "We were worried about him coming in, because he's the one kid we knew we'd have trouble matching up with. He's trouble when he's in open space." The 22-point win gained some measure of revenge for the Falcons, who lost by 40 to the Eagles last year. "Yes and no," said Drehle, who's team plays at School of the Osage at 7 p.m. Friday. "The big thing for us is just winning and I couldn't be prouder of our kids."