The recent graduate headed to play at Benedictine (Kan.) College led a pair of scoring drives to help Missouri take the all-time series lead in the Greater Kansas City Football Coaches Association Missouri vs. Kansas All-Star Game’s history. He plunged into the end zone from 4 yards out early in the second quarter Thursday, June 18 at Blue Springs South High School to put Missouri ahead for good on the way to a 35-7 win.
Having now played 24 times, Missouri now owns a 12-11 lead on Kansas with the 2003 game canceled due to lightning.
The matchup pits graduated seniors from each side of the state line. The teams met up for two weeks worth of practices, and as one of only two quarterbacks on the Missouri roster, Schuetz — a four-year starter at Park Hill South, only one at quarterback — knew he could play a big role.
“It’s always fun getting out under the lights,” said Schuetz, who went 3-for-7 passing for 34 yards and a touchdown and four carries for 25 yards. “Especially with a group of guys who really love football and want to take it to the next level, it makes it that much easier. People said, ‘Well, you only have two weeks to prepare, but everyone wanted to be there. It was really easy to put everything together. Tonight was just awesome overall.”
Kearney’s Jake Gassman highlighted Missouri’s onslaught with a 62-yard punt return that featured almost a dozen broken tackles on his way to the end zone. The score to close out the first half put Missouri up 28-7 at the break and built on Schuetz’s 4-yard touchdown run 10 minutes earlier on a read-option play.
Gassman won the game’s MVP, but seven recent graduates from Platte County schools took part in Missouri’s balanced effort, including a highlight trick play featuring Schuetz and Platte County’s Tyler Cooper in the second half.
Cooper, once the starting quarterback for the Pirates who made the Missouri Football Coaches Assocation all-state team at tight end in 2014, completed a pass to Schuetz midway through the third quarter. Playing mostly fullback, Cooper took a reverse handoff from Hogan Prep running back Edward Collins and threw back to Schuetz, who had leaked out of the backfield after the original handoff.
The play went for 11 yards and was one of just seven pass completions for Missouri. Schuetz then completed the drive with a 23-yard touchdown pass to Winnetonka’s Will Morrow with 3 minutes, 29 seconds left in the third quarter.
Aliek Reed, Platte County’s other participant caught one pass — a 12-yard connection from Schuetz in the fourth quarter. Missouri finished with just more than 200 yards of offense, more than doubling Kansas’ 98 yards of total offense.
“The guys up front did a great job,” Schuetz said. “The receivers ran great routes and caught the ball. The running backs did awesome. The defense played really well. It was a great team effort, and I think the scoreboard really showed that tonight.”
Joe Tuimauga, one of three all-state linemen for Park Hill this past season, primarily played left guard but slid back to fullback on multiple occasions when the Missourians switched to a jumbo package. One of just seven players listed as offensive lineman, he played almost the entire game.
A practicing Mormon, Tuimauga will go out on missionary duty for the next two years before planning to attend Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.
“It’s such an honor to follow behind those that came ahead of me,” Tuimauga said. “It was a great time with the guys. From the very beginning, we were family. We were able to do what we do. It’s always fun winning but also being with the best guys from Missouri, it is good.”
Park Hill linebackers Clayton Cole, Carter Anchors and Jamaal Brazil helped solidify the defense which forced two turnovers and didn’t allow a point after the first quarter.
Official defensive statistics were not kept.
Anchors, who has played through a torn ulnar collateral ligament he suffered during basketball season, also manned the punt duties for Missouri.
“It was a great experience,” said Brazil, signed to play at Northwest Missouri State. “I really bonded with these guys. It was like real family. It was good. I enjoyed every minute of it. It was the funnest practices I ever went to. We all enjoyed it and picked up everything quick because you are playing with all-stars.”
The four representative from Park Hill, all going to different schools to continue their careers, played together one last time. This senior group led a turnaround from three wins in 2013 to a 12-1 season that concluded with a 22-10 loss to Nixa in the Class 5 semifinals — the seventh trip to that round in program history and first since 2006.
“We wanted to win that last one,” said Park Hill coach Josh Hood, who assisted on the Missouri staff in the game. “They made that promise. Those kids had such a great personality. The character of those kids through the entire squad was so impressive. It was fun to do anything with those guys, especially winning a football game. To be able to put a win together for them, it was a dream.”
Missouri won its fifth straight Mo-Kan All-Star Game. Kansas has won just three times since taking a 8-2 series lead in 2001.