It had already rained once on the Smith-Cotton parade.
The Tigers would ensure its homecoming game was more comfortable.
Alumni and Tiger fans were greeted by pregame showers at the Smith-Cotton homecoming football game, a 31-13 win Friday, Sept. 16, over Nevada at Tiger Stadium in Sedalia.
It is the first Smith-Cotton victory since defeating Warrensburg 26-6 at home for the Silver Tiger trophy. Friday’s contest was a black-and-blue Tigers battle, as Smith-Cotton (3-2) bludgeoned Nevada with four touchdowns in the game’s 20 minutes, allowed 54 yards rushing and scored 31 points on 361 total yards.
Brice Pannier scored first for Smith-Cotton on a 54-yard sweep right directly after converting a third-and-short first down. Pannier totaled 133 yards rushing on the night.
Jaden Kendrick, who had 109 yards rushing, 43 yards passing and two touchdowns, setup Smith-Cotton’s second score at the 20-yard line with a 44-yard rush. He punched in a 1-yard touchdown six minutes into the game.
Blake Grupe, who made a 40-yard field goal and missed a 43-yard attempt, had moments to shine after Kendrick’s score.
A Smith-Cotton face mask penalty extended Grupe’s extra-point attempt, which was good. He then tackled Nevada’s return man, who had broken free down the right side line.
Head coach Ryan Boyer said Grupe’s effort on the return was admirable.
“It’s neat,” Boyer said. “You can build off different plays, and emotion. We don’t always heavily encourage him to get in the mix like that, but our kids work off each other.”
On the next S-C play from scrimmage, Gauge Young shed multiple Nevada tackles and traveled 34 yards for the third home team touchdown.
Four-and-a-half minutes into the second quarter, Kendrick hit Brandon Neale for a 7-yard touchdown reception, and Smith-Cotton led 28-0 until halftime. The score was Kendrick’s first passing touchdown of the season, and varsity career.
He said there was a rush of emotion after the pass.
“It felt great,” Kendrick said. “Varsity is a big difference from JV. It felt amazing, actually.”
Boyer said Kendrick, who was 5-for-9 passing, looked relaxed in his position Friday.
“He’s done a better job of settling down and just taking what the defense gives him,” Boyer said. “The last few weeks, he was almost trying too hard … He had one play there, right before half, but like I told him, it was one play and bad plays are going to happen, but just get right back in it. That was very pleasing.”
The Sedalia Tigers did not punt until more than 10 minutes in the first half, after a pair of penalties set back Smith-Cotton’s drive to 2nd-and-28. Before the half, Kendrick – scrambling – was tackled from behind and lost a fumble.
Nevada positioned for its first score with a 48-yard completion from Jacob Hammontree to Shelby Trotter. The ball was marked at the half-yard line, and Hammontree scored on the next play.
Down 31-7, with 1:14 to play in the third, the Nevada Tigers unsuccessfully attempted an onside kick. Nevada drove to the 1-yard line before its second touchdown of the night. The 2-point conversion attempt was unsuccessful.
Smith-Cotton defeated Nevada last season in a weather-delayed game on the road, scoring 16 unanswered points after the break. Nevada (1-4) outscored Smith-Cotton 13-3 in the second half Friday.
The Tigers, currently winless on the road, face O’Hara, Clinton and St. Pius X in away games over the next three weeks. Kickoff against the Celtics (2-3) is 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23.
Alex Agueros can be reached at 660-826-1000, ext. 1483 or on Twitter @abagueros2