The scoreboard may have read 40-13, but that doesn’t mean the Belleville East Lancers came away from their season-opening loss to Chaminade College Prep on Friday without some positives.
The No. 8 team in the Missouri Media Class 5 poll, Chaminade broke to a 21-0 lead before the Lancers seemed to have their football legs under them.
But after that, East hung right with the Red Devils, who tacked on two touchdowns in the final four minutes to make the score seem more lopsided than it was.
“That’s a good team over there, and you look at the scoreboard and you might think it would be hard to come away with anything positive,” said Lancers coach Kris Stephens, whose Lancers dropped their 2016 season opener 49-7 to Chaminade on the way to a 1-8 finish. “But I thought defensively, we did some things well.
“We could have done more offensively, but we hurt ourselves with some turnovers and penalties that stopped drives. We’ve got some things to build on.”
Most impressive for the Lancers was probably senior quarterback Kienen Waller.
The second-year starter completed 23 of 42 passes for 243 yards, including a 3-yard touchdown pass to DeCarlos Johnson late in the first half for his team’s first score of the game.
“I have confidence in all my receivers,” said Waller, who connected with seven different receivers. “It took a little while (to get going tonight), but we think we can do pretty well this season.”
The Lancers’ other two scores came on field goals of 32 and 29 yards. The first came on the final play of the second quarter. The second early in the third quarter and drew East to within 21-13.
Coming off a 21-14 loss in their season opener against Kirkwood, Chaminade tallied a pair of touchdowns in a span of less than 90 seconds midway through the first quarter to grab a 14-0 lead.
Sophomore quarterback Brady Cook helped make both of them happen and then had a third on his own.
First, Cook connected with L.J. Fortune on a 42-yard touchdown pass on a fourth-down play.
Then, on the first play after the Red Devils had forced a three-and-out, Cameron Campbell broke loose on a fly pattern down the left sideline for a 31-yard score, making it 14-0.
Cook added a third touchdown, breaking away from a East tackler on a pass play and scrambling his way for a 15-yard score that later made it 21-0.
“It’s hard to hit the ground running in the first game, and we kind of shot ourselves in the foot,” said Stephens. “We could not stop them on that third down play, and we could have had a sack on that third one.”
Johnson caught five passes for the Maroons for 73 yards, while Freddie Waller carried the ball 10 times for 65 yards.
Chaminade’s Cook was 13 of 18 for 234 yards and four touchdowns.
Jerred Taylor ran for 134 yards for the Red Devils, including a 62-yard scoring run that made it 27-13.
The Lancers will again be on the road in Week 2 when they travel to Highland for a nonconference game.