TULSA, DEC. 2 -- Its primary offensive weapon -- quarterback John Kaleo -- collared by a furious pass rush and a chilling downpour, Montgomery-Rockville was overmatched and outperformed by Coffeyville today. The Kansas school controlled the sixth Mid-America Bowl from start to painful finish, routing the Knights, 58-20, before 6,000 at Union-Tuttle Stadium to claim its third national junior college football title.
The Red Ravens piled up 648 yards of total offense, led by running back Tony Jeffery's bowl-record 282 yards on 23 carries, and held Kaleo and company to 395 yards. Kaleo, who completed 60 percent of his passes in his MVP season, connected on only 20 of 52 passes for 272 yards and four interceptions.
"John could hardly grip the wet ball, it was too slippery," Knights Coach Phil Martin said. "I could tell he hasn't been on with his throwing all week."
Three of Kaleo's interceptions were turned into Coffeyville scores.
"Too many mistakes killed us, they killed us," said wideout Dwayne Freeman, who caught seven passes for 126 yards. "We just turned it over too many times."
The Knights (10-1) came out firing, with Kaleo completing four of eight passes for 75 yards, to silence for the moment the Coffeyville fans who journeyed from Kansas.
Following an incomplete pass on Montgomery's first play, Kaleo completed a 32-yard pass to Freeman, who held on despite being blanketed by cornerback Steve Reed. Kaleo also had completions of 19 and 18 yards to seldom-used tailback Tra Jones, setting up first and goal from the 1.
Kaleo finished the 11-play, 76-yard drive two plays later with a one-yard dive to give the Knights a 6-0 lead three minutes into the game.
"I wasn't surprised when they came out and threw the ball," Coffeyville Coach Skip Foster said. "I was most concerned with our ability to stop their passing."
John Searing's extra point attempt was blocked, and lineman Alfred Smith returned the ball down the left sideline before Searing made the saving tackle at the Coffeyville 40.
That was the last of the good news for Montgomery-Rockville, whose offense mustered only 37 more yards the rest of the half. Kaleo completed a 51-yard scoring pass to Freeman midway through the third quarter and a 34-yard touchdown pass to Jones early in the fourth, but the outcome had all but been decided long before that.
Everything the Knights passing attack achieved on its first drive, Coffeyville (11-0) accomplished with its running game for the rest of the game. Jeffery gained 60 yards on five carries during the Red Ravens' first drive, capped by his 22-yard scoring run behind left tackle Todd Murphy.
The Red Ravens startled Montgomery-Rockville with an onside kick, which Reed recovered. But the Knights held to force a punt.
The defense held again on Coffeyville's next drive, until quarterback John Mattress scrambled away from lineman Marty Mayes on third and 20 and found Harvey Crowder open for a 51-yard touchdown down the right sideline.
Kaleo, who is most dangerous when allowed to stand back in the pocket and study the field, was hurried in the second quarter by linemen Jason Beyer and Darren Cooley and had his pass picked off by linebacker Matt Cowan at the Knights 35.
Mattress (eight for 20, 192 yards) did not take long to capitalize, finding Morris Letcher open over the middle for a 33-yard scoring pass.
On the next Montgomery possession, Kaleo scrambled 14 yards to the Knights 40. But on the next play his short pass was intercepted by Reed. Larry Starr capped Coffeyville's drive with a one-yard touchdown run.
The Knights had worse luck the next drive when Kaleo attempted a screen pass to Andre Henry. But the ball was blown backward -- becoming a live ball -- and was recovered by Cowan at the Knights 30. Alan Johnson kicked a 35-yard field goal to give the Red Ravens a 30-6 halftime lead.
Coffeyville won national championships in 1956 and 1983. The Red Ravens' 58 points exceeded the bowl record of 38, set by Northeastern Oklahoma A&M in 1986 against the Knights.