Lee’s Summit West senior running back Phillip Brooks had no idea what the football version of a wounded duck was until practice this week.
It seems Brooks, who last played quarterback in middle school, struggled with the halfback pass installed in this week’s game plan.
Brooks’ arm came through when it counted, and the resulting touchdown turned out to be the go-ahead score in the Titans’ 39-9 victory at Fort Osage on Friday night.
Brooks took the pitch, sprinted right, and hit a wide-open Cade Clemons for a 42-yard touchdown on third and 23.
“Phil really surprised me with that ball. Practice was a little shaky, but he clutched it in the game, so I’m happy with that,” Clemons said.
Clemons didn’t take the bait when jokingly asked who threw the better ball — Brooks or quarterback Ben Kobel.
Brooks, standing next to his teammate, could only smile.
“It just clicked in the game. It just happened in the heat of the moment,” Brooks said. “I was looking at him in the corner of my eye all the way. As soon as I saw the corner come up and commit, he was wide open, and I just gave it to him.”
The Titans (6-1) kicked the offense into gear after a sluggish first half. Brooks was the catalyst, rushing for 143 yards and three touchdowns in addition to his first career touchdown pass.
“Phillip’s a kid who can run it, he can throw it now, and he can catch the ball,” Lee’s Summit West coach Vinny Careswell said. “He’s a special kid.”
Fort Osage was buried under second-half touchdowns of 42, 16, 68 and 47 yards.
“It was a relief. Fort Osage was tough, and they were battling with us,” Brooks said. “We just had to compete with them.”
Kobel threw for 201 yards and a score for LS West, and Clemons caught four passes for 176 yards and two touchdowns. And all of the offense came after Fort Osage (5-2) jumped out to an early 9-0 lead.
“Our O-line started opening holes for Phillip, Ben started dropping dimes, and we just started breaking them off,” Clemons said.
The Indians’ lone touchdown drive was set up by a blocked punt. But after scoring that first-quarter touchdown, Fort Osage never again got within 25 yards of the end zone.
Friday’s game was a microcosm of the season. Lee’s Summit West has reeled off five straight wins since dropping a week-2 slugfest to Blue Springs.
“That loss was our catalyst to get rolling. We might see them again at some point, we hope, but that got us going,” Careswell said.