By Lance Ogden
No. 4-ranked Mount Vernon is looking to get over the hump; No. 1-ranked Harrisonville is gunning to create a dynasty.
Both the Mountaineers and the Wildcats will rely on playoff experience tonight at 7 p.m. when the two clash in Harrisonville during a Class 3 state quarterfinal matchup.
The winner will take on the winner of the Grain Valley-St. Pius contest Saturday.
The Mountaineers (10-0), who have lost the past two years in the Class 2 quarterfinal round to Houston, will face a tough challenge if they intend to move on.
Harrisonville (11-0), which is loaded with a stable full of speed, has played in the state final the past three seasons and won the title in 2005 and 2003.
“They’ve been there before and they’re very fast on defense and have several weapons on offense,” Mount Vernon coach Dan Henderson said.
The key to the Wildcats’ offense is quarterback Sean Ransburg, who is a double threat to either pass the ball deep or take off with it downfield.
Mount Vernon will rely on quarterback Tomas Brock to get its offense moving.
The senior is responsible for 44 touchdowns this season and has a combined 2,355 total yards of offense. Brock has run for 1,071 yards and 26 touchdowns and passed for 1,284 yards.
“This is a special player,” Harrisonville coach Fred Bouchard said. “For us not to feel like he’s a key cog for them would be a mistake. He’s probably not different from what Sean Ransburg is for us.
“Both can have special skills and can beat you with their arms or their feet.”
Bouchard said another problem Brock presents is that if you pay too much attention to him, the Mountaineers’ other threats, like running backs Kellen Cox and Jordan Faucett, can step up.
Still, Harrisonville’s focus will be on Brock.
“People have tried to do that, minimizing other people’s roles,” Bouchard said, “and (Brock) just makes other people pay really bad when they give him any kind of room.”
Brock said he’ll need to bring his A game if the Mountaineers are to advance to the semis.
“They are very athletic, well-coached and they do a lot of different things on defense to keep people off-balance,” Brock said. “We are going to have to play very well.
“They are the No. 1 team in the state for a reason, but we are very capable if we execute the right way.”
This might be the biggest game for the Mountaineers this season, and they’re taking full advantage of the postseason ride.
“This is exciting and we’re having fun,” Brock said. “We’re having fun.”
Notes: Mount Vernon advanced to the quarterfinals after defeating Ava 50-14 on Wednesday. ... Harrisonville stopped Seneca 45-7 in its sectional game.
By Lance Ogden