Perry Blow-out victories are nice, but to Tulsa Crum's way of thinking, the last-minute nail-biters are better.
"I think it's better to play a game that goes down to the wire," said Crum, a Perry-Lecompton senior. "When you reach down in your soul and pull it off, when you come back in the lockerroom, there's no better feeling."
There were plenty of good feelings, then, after the Kaws defeated Kaw Valley League foe Santa Fe Trail, 14-12, in high school football Friday night at Perry. Jeff Spreer blocked a 28-yard field goal attempt with 44 seconds remaining to seal the win.
"I don't know why we do that with Santa Fe Trail," said Perry-Lecompton coach Armin Landis. "We've been within a score of them for the last four years. We respect 'em for it. Sometimes we respect them more than we respect ourselves."
Crum scored the first touchdown of the game. P-L's Aaron Faimon blocked a Charger punt, and Crum scooped it up on the 25 and ran in for the TD with 11:41 left before halftime. The Chargers tied it, 6-all, just three minutes later.
THE KAWS drove 80 yards on 15 plays on the first possession of the second half. The seven-minute drive was capped when Faimon bulled in from the five-yard line for Perry's final touchdown. Quarterback Mike Kelly ran the conversion for a 14-6 Perry bulge.
But the Chargers pulled to 14-12 with 6:56 left. SFT's Duncan returned a punt 61 yards to set up the score.
"Santa Fe Trail always plays us tough," said Faimon, a running back who gained 43 yards on six carries. "They beat us the last four years. Three years ago we scored a late TD but got called for a clip and they called it back. My sophomore year, we got burned deep late in the game. Last year, we went ahead but they got the ball and scored again with just a couple of minutes left. They're a good fourth-quarter team."
The Chargers twice threatened without a score in fourth quarter. Just before their final touchdown, they drove to the Perry 32-yard line before Brian Damme intercepted a Brian Kuermaier pass on the five-yard line. The Kaws drove to their own 39 before punting. SFT scored on the resultant possession.
AFTER PERRY'S next three-down-and-punt possession, the Chargers turned over on downs at their 35. But the Kaws fumbled away on the first play of their next possession with 2:32 remaining.
Santa Fe Trail used Kuermaier's 42-yard pass to Keith Watkins as part of its drive to the Kaws' 11. Spreer blocked the field goal attempt, but the ball rolled to the one. Kelly's one-yard keeper killed the remaining clock.
"We never count Santa Fe Trail out," he said. "We always get real close, but we've come up on the short end. Not tonight."
The Kaws improved to 3-1 overall and in the KVL. They'll host Basehor-Linwood on Friday.
Santa Fe Trail
P-L Tulsa Crum 25 return of blocked punt (kick fail)
SFT Keith Watkins 4 run (kick fail)
P-L Aaron Faimon 5 run (Mike Kelly run)
SFT Ron Dean 4 run (run fail)