KANKAKEE — With more than a handful of playmakers who are capable of taking the ball to the endzone from anywhere on the field, when sophomore running back and slot receiver James “Dink” Stampley returned to his native Kankakee and transferred from St. Rita on Chicago’s South Side, he knew he would have to work harder than ever to find himself in the team’s rotation of skill players.
And when the Kays looked to finish off Mt. Vernon in the first round of the IHSA Class 5A playoffs in Kankakee Saturday, it was none other than the splendid sophomore who sealed the deal.
With 5:53 on the fourth-quarter clock and the Kays taking over at their own 32-yard line after Mt. Vernon quarterback Payton McMillan’s second rushing touchdown of the game pulled the Rams back to within two points at 16-14, Stampley, who had two carries for a yard up until that point, ran six carries for 68 yards on the final drive that the Kays ended with celebratory kneeldowns and a 16-14 victory.