Red Bulls reign again
Late TD lifts Red Bulls past White Stallions in battle of Lansing’s best
Easton In four years of Parks and Recreation football, the Lansing Red Bulls never faced adversity quite like this.
During those years - the first two as the Red Devils and last two as the Red Bulls - they lost just two games, but they'd never trailed at halftime.
That was the case Saturday night at Pleasant Ridge High School when they trailed the Lansing White Stallions by a touchdown at intermission of the fifth- and sixth-grade Northeast Kansas Athletic Association Super Bowl.
"They were rattled; they were shaken. I saw doubt at halftime," Red Bulls coach Rick Schneider said. "But you know what? We reassured them, and they responded.
"I think it was critical that we came down and punched it in early after that."
Yes, the Red Bulls needed less than four minutes to tie the game early in the third quarter. Then the defense hung on until the final minutes. A 47-yard touchdown run by Joe Schneider with 1:13 left in the game gave the Red Bulls a 24-16 victory and their fourth straight championship.
Coach Schneider said the last title definitely was the toughest.
"It was a lot of fun, too," he said. "It required us to dig down and find out who we are."
Both teams did a lot of digging Saturday night, and both discovered they were pretty darn good. Keep in mind that the Stallions' only other loss this season also came to the Red Bulls - a 26-0 defeat on Sept. 15.
Since then, the Stallions have been a force to be reckoned with. They installed a new offense that uses a lot of deception and three solid ball carriers. Their improvement was evident in the rematch.
"We executed a lot better tonight than we did that first game," Stallions coach Blaine Domann said.
They executed so well that the Red Bulls didn't even have an offensive possession in the first quarter. The Stallions gobbled up all 10 minutes of the opening stanza before turning the ball over on downs.
The Red Bulls needed just one play - a 59-yard pass play from Zach Jackson to Joe Schneider for a touchdown - and then a run by Dontae Gibson for the conversion, to take an 8-0 lead.
The Stallions then answered with a one-play drive as Damien Perry busted a 51-yard touchdown run. He also ran for the conversion and tied the game.
After stopping the Red Bulls on fourth down on the ensuing drive, the Stallions used a mix of runs by Jeff Beck and Perry to move the ball before Logan Parr broke a 54-yard run for a touchdown. Perry ran for the conversion, and the Stallions took a 16-8 lead into halftime.
"That's a very, very effective offense," Rick Schneider said of the Stallions. "Not only is it freaky, but that line blocks. They do a great job."
The Red Bulls tied the game four plays into the third quarter when Joe Schneider sprung free for a 39 yard score. He also ran for the two-point conversion and tied the game. After that, it was up to the defense.
The Stallions ate up the next eight minutes of clock but were unable to score. They then forced a quick turnover and whittled away four more minutes of clock. Again the Red Bulls' defense held up and forced a turnover on downs. That set up the final drive and Joe Schneider's game-winning run.
The Stallions didn't fold, however. Instead, they marched 49 yards to the Red Bulls' 22-yard line. Forty of those yards came on a run by Parr, and an open-field tackle by Zach Jackson kept him out of the endzone and saved the game for the Red Bulls.
"That play saved a touchdown; that was big," Rick Schneider said. "We did not want to go to overtime with these guys. I wasn't sure if we could hold them."
Domann said he was disappointed for his players that they weren't able to win after playing so well, but he said they had plenty to be proud of.
"They did exactly what we asked them. They gave 100 percent effort," he said. "It comes down to a turnover here, a turnover there and a couple big plays. We had a couple big plays, too, but that's just the way it goes."
The Red Bulls finish the season with a 7-0 record and the Stallions close with a 5-2 mark.
The Red Bulls are Turiq Sweet, Dontae Gibson, Sean Ellis, Cameron Wiggins, Dalton Burns, Isaiah Adkins, Davis Pilloni, Nicholas Heatherington, Evan Hofer, Zach Jackson, Joe Schneider, Jack Reilly, Matt Moriarty, Riley Weeks, Scott Hattock, Dylan Lash and Matt Spezia.
The White Stallions are Joe Wangerin, Collin Anderson, Bradley Sheley, Juston Smith, Logan Parr, Jeff Beck, Darien Parr, Damien Perry, Aidan McLoughlin, Cole Domann, Michael Harms, Jay Vavricek, Austin White, Garret Logan, Sam Nixon, Wesley Pippin and Matt Gillespie.