Trailing 34-28 in the final minute and with the ball at the 3-yard line, Emporia quarterback Tanner Taylor fired the ball into the end zone and was intercepted by Brock Monty, his quarterback counterpart.
Kapaun Mount Carmel’s dual-threat quarterback added a third element to his skill set Friday night, preserving the Crusaders’ Class 5A-District 5 victory at Cessna Stadium. He put receiving alongside his rushing and City League-leading passing stats and complemented a five-touchdown game by teammate Alexander Norris.
“You’d be surprised how many people have told me I can’t catch,” Monty said with a chuckle.
The final play just fell into place for him, he said.
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“I just got there, and I was in the right place, read my keys and had been working out on it all week,” Monty said. “I was right where I needed to be, (Taylor) threw it, and I caught it.
“That’s a good way to go out, I guess.”
Monty’s pick with 16 seconds to play capped a hard-fought triumph, as poor special-teams play put Kapaun (5-2, 1-0 district) behind by two touchdowns in the first half.
“We were not ‘special’ on special teams at all,” Kapaun coach Dan Adelhardt said. “We were lucky to win that football game.”
Norris, playing for the first time in three games, carried much of the Crusaders’ offensive load. He rushed 19 times for 240 yards and all five Kapaun touchdowns. He also caught three Monty passes for another 81 yards.
“It was amazing, coming back in the first week of districts,” Norris said. “It’s pretty easy to make runs like that when you’re following good blockers.”
Norris started the scoring with a 1-yard run on Kapaun’s opening possession. He ran three times in the opening drive, but the key play was his 70-yard reception and run that put the ball at the Spartans’ 11.
“He’s a special kid,” Monty said of Norris. “He sometimes made plays out of nothing. There were times I thought he was wrapped up, and he went. That’s really tough for teams to defend.”
The Crusaders’ winning drive started at the Kapaun 2 after an Emporia punt was downed deep. Two runs by Norris and one by Nick Channel put the ball at the Kapaun 21. Monty then found Colter Hullings on a 42-yard pass reception that put the ball at the Spartans’ 37. Norris then swept his way into the end zone with 3:23 left for a 34-28 lead.
But Emporia (3-4, 0-1) drove 10 plays to the Kapaun 3. On second-and-goal Taylor threw into the end zone, but Monty – inserted at safety – made the game-saving interception as the final seconds ticked off.
KMC – Norris 1 run (Williams kick)
E – Taylor 2 run (Dobbins kick)
E – Taylor 3 run (Dobbins kick)
KMC – Norris 65 run (Williams kick)
KMC – Norris 4 run (kick failed)
KMC – Norris 29 run (Monty run)
E – Morehead 6 run (Dobbins kick)
KMC – Norris 37 run (kick blocked)
Rushing – Emporia: Taylor 22-82, Rodriguez 5-37, Brooks 2-26, Morehead 4-20, Slayden 5-16, Kirmer 5-5, Secord 1-1. Kapaun Mount Carmel: Norris 19-240, Monty 9-104, Channel 4-11, Medina 1-2.
Passing – Emporia: Taylor 7-10-1-127. Kapaun Mount Carmel: Monty 7-13-0-139.
Receiving – Emporia: Morehead 2-31, Henton 1-43, Crouch 1-28, Secord 1-12, Hibler 1-15, Slayden 1-1. Kapaun Mount Carmel: Norris 3-81, Channel 2-13, Hullings 1-42, Hessman 1-3.