That’s right: high school football in June. Blayney and 79 other seniors selected to play in the 29th annual Kansas All-Star Game against Missouri played their final game of their illustrious high school career Thursday.
As Missouri extended its all-time lead to 16-13 with a 32-15 win at Turner High School in Kansas City, Kansas, the intensity and friendly conversation was on point.
There was also rust: Missouri’s defense committed three offside penalties in the first practice. Both teams missed punts or kickoffs in the first half.
But speed doesn’t discriminate in any sport. Blayney used his elite speed 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 split foot to hook a 10-yard pass to Oak Park quarterback Ty Clemens, then brought him over. 70 meters to the house.
“When I turned around (after the catch), I expected to be hit,” Blayney said. “But nobody was in front of me. So I was just like, ‘Okay, I’ll take it. I’m going.'”
Blayney is used to the speed of execution between the two sports. A two-time football and baseball rookie for Division II Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, the Lee’s Summit North star will report to RiverHawks training camp on July 11.
“I’ve done it almost my whole life,” Blayney said. “There were always times when I would play a baseball game and then go and play a football game. It got crazy growing up and I really got used to it.
But for now, the dual-sport star says he’s just soaking up the experience of being able to play with other players he’s faced throughout his high school career.
It was a sentiment shared by several other All-Stars on Thursday night: Park Hill South running back Lucas Oitker saw his team’s undefeated season ended by linebacker AJ Delgado and his Liberty North team during the district 4 class 6 championship game.
But on Thursday, and for two weeks of practice before the game, the two were teammates and exchanged friendly conversations with Park Hill South defensive lineman James Williams and center Liam Aldridge.
“No hard feelings, it’s football,” Oitker said. “It was great to have him in my team this time around.”
Oitker has never taken a direct shot in his entire career as a running back for Park Hill South. But on Thursday he played in the Wildcat roster as Pleasant Hill coach Justin Hamilton often dialed up the running game.
Even when inexperience showed Oitker missed a snap, he saved the game for a touchdown, catching the ball from one pitch and turning to throw a 31-yard arcing touchdown pass to Kearney’s KJ Smith .
“I ran and looked behind me and was like, ‘Well, I have time, so don’t panic,'” Oitker said. “I saw KJ, it was a one-man route, so I just threw it at KJ…it was my first pass (from high school).”
Williams had his own spectacular game that helped him win the game MVP award.
Coming in at quarterback time and time again, the defensive end recovered a fumble in the third quarter and had it all green in front of him before being chased by a Kansas wide receiver.
“I saw the shadow of the guy behind me and thought it was a lineman,” Williams said. “Then I looked and the guy was 5-foot-4, and I got tackled. If I just had a little more gas in me – if it was the forward play – it was a touchdown.
The Missouri All-Stars defense, anchored in the middle by Delgado and Fort Osage center linebacker David Jacquez, held steady after allowing the touchdown on the first drive, limiting Kansas to just 1.7 yards per carry.
Williams took advantage of this, replacing passes and flashing his speed on the edge. The 6-foot-5, 230-pound rusher earned the nickname “Sticks” from Park Hill South defensive line coach Steve Martin when he entered freshman with a record of 5-foot-9 and a weight of 155 lbs.
The two-star recruit is heading to a junior college in Iowa. Many of the 80 players in Thursday’s game, including AJ Delgado (Avila University) and Oitker (Washburn University) will soon report to training camp at their respective colleges, like Blayney.
But for now, Thursday’s All-Star Showcase was a time to celebrate high school.
“I can’t explain the feelings I have right now,” Blayney said. “I was able to go out on the pitch again with my boys, and it was an incredible feeling.”