Devin Blayney broke Lee’s Summit North’s school record for stolen bases in a season on senior night in mid-May. Two weeks later, he was putting on pads to practice football.
That’s right: high school football in June. Blayney and 79 other seniors selected to appear in the 29th annual Kansas vs. Missouri All-Star Game played their final game of their illustrious high school careers Thursday.
As Missouri extended its all-time series lead to 16-13 with a 32-15 win at Turner High School in Kansas City, Kansas, intensity and friendly trash talk were on full display.
So was some rust: The Missouri defense committed three offsides penalties on the opening drive. Both teams muffed punts or kickoffs in the first half.
But speed doesn’t discriminate in any sport. Blayney used his elite quickness to score the Missouri All-Stars’ first touchdown of the night.
Early in the first quarter, the wide receiver improvised on a route and used the resulting foot of separation to snag a 10-yard pass from scrambling Oak Park quarterback Ty Clemens — and then take it over 70 yards to the house.
“When I turned around (after the catch), I was expecting to get hit,” Blayney said. “But no one was in front of me. So I was just like, ‘Alright, I’ll take it. I’ll go.”
Blayney is used to the quick turnaround between the two sports. A dual football and baseball recruit for Division II Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, the Lee’s Summit North star will report to training camp for the RiverHawks on July 11.
“I’ve been doing it most of my life,” Blayney said. “There were always times where I would play a baseball game then go play a football game. It just got crazy growing up, and I got really used to it.”
But for now, the two-sport standout said he is just soaking in the experience of being able to play with other players he had faced throughout his high school career.
It was a sentiment echoed by several other All-Stars on Thursday night: Park Hill South running back Lucas Oitker had his team’s undefeated season ended by linebacker AJ Delgado and his Liberty North squad in the Class 6 District 4 championship game.
But on Thursday, and for two weeks of practice leading up to the game, the two were teammates and traded friendly trash-talk along with Park Hill South defensive lineman James Williams and center Liam Aldridge.
“No hard feelings whatsoever, it’s football.” Oitker said. “It was great to have him on my team this time.”
Oitker never took a direct snap his entire career as a running back for Park Hill South. But on Thursday, he starred in the Wildcat formation as Pleasant Hill coach Justin Hamilton dialed up the run game often.
Even when inexperience showed as Oitker muffed a snap, he salvaged the play for a touchdown, grabbing the ball off a pitch and wheeling around to throw a 31-yard arcing touchdown pass to Kearney’s KJ Smith.
“I ran and looked behind me and was like, ‘Well, I got some time, so don’t freak out,'” Oitker said. “I saw KJ, it was a one-man route, so I just threw it up to KJ … it was my first pass (of high school).”
Williams had a spectacular play of his own that helped him win MVP of the game.
Getting to the quarterback time and time again, the defensive end picked up a fumble recovery in the third quarter and had all green in front of him before he was chased down by a Kansas wide receiver.
“I saw the shadow of the guy behind me, and I thought it was a lineman,” Williams said. “Then I looked and the guy was 5-foot-4, and I got tackled. If I had just a little bit more gas in me — if that was the play before — that was a touchdown.”
The Missouri All-Stars’ defense, anchored in the middle by Delgado and Fort Osage middle linebacker David Jacquez, held steady after allowing the touchdown on the opening drive, limiting Kansas to just 1.7 yards per carry.
Williams took advantage, substituting in on passing downs and flashing his speed off the edge. The 6-5, 230-pound edge rusher earned the nickname “Sticks” from Park Hill South defensive line coach Steve Martin when he entered freshman year standing 5-9 and weighing 155 pounds.
The two-star recruit is headed to an Iowa junior college. Many of the 80 players in Thursday’s game, including AJ Delgado (Avila University) and Oitker (Washburn University) will report to training camp for their respective colleges soon, like Blayney.
But for now, Thursday’s All-Star showcase was a moment to celebrate high school.
“I can’t explain the feelings I have right now,” Blayney said. “I got to get on the field one more time with my boys, and it was an amazing feeling.”