OVERLAND PARK — While victories have proven elusive for Shawnee Heights football this season, the same can’t be said for teachable moments.


The T-Birds had plenty of the latter Friday night versus St. James Academy.


Heights committed five turnovers, including four straight in its final four drives of the first half, en route to a 48-0 defeat to the Thunder at Aquinas. Those T-Bird giveaways directly led to 21 points for St. James Academy, which was led by senior quarterback Dakota Burritt’s 22-for-32 passing performance for 256 yards and four touchdowns.


After the Thunder’s first touchdown — a 19-yard run by senior LaJames White, who juked multiple defenders on his way to the end zone — several T-Bird players reviewed video of the scoring drive on a computer monitor positioned on the sideline, with assistant coaches explaining what went wrong. Among the Heights players in the real-time film review session were underclassmen Cole Riley, Andrew Holton and Callahan Huston.


Heights coach Jason Swift later labeled his team’s eagerness to learn a silver lining amid what’s been a challenging season.


"We’re going to keep battling and keep trying to teach, and the kids are still trying to get better as football players and as a football team. That’s great. Hats off to them," Swift said. "We’re going to get a lot of life lessons out of this year too, and I think we’ll be better men because of it."


The T-Birds (1-6) fumbled on the first play of their third and fourth drives, leading to back-to-back touchdowns and a 21-0 advantage for the Thunder (3-3). Interceptions followed on drives five and six for Heights, which trailed by that three-touchdown deficit at the intermission.


"Tonight I thought we made some good plays. Both sides of the ball can be very proud of our effort and making some good plays. But sometimes we hurt ourselves. We’re the 12th man for the opponent," Swift said. "When you play a good team like St. James, they’ll come back and get you."


The visitors’ fifth and final turnover, a fumble on a fourth-quarter exchange, set up a 58-yard touchdown run by Burritt, giving St. James Academy a 41-0 lead with 8:29 remaining. Burritt accounted for five of the Thunder’s seven touchdowns.


"It’s just been a tough year for our kids. Whether it’s through injuries or schedule change or whatever the situation is, we’ve faced a lot of adversity," Swift said. "But our kids are resilient and they play hard."


Swift said he is "proud" of the heart his players have shown throughout the season.


"I mean there’s a lot of kids that could just say, ‘It’s not for me,’ or step aside or not play hard regardless of the score," Swift said. "That’s not the way it is. ...


"We just can’t seem to catch ourselves when we make a mistake and bounce back. But, we still get to play football. So next week we’ll grind and we’ll play hard next week."


ST. JAMES ACADEMY 48, SHAWNEE HEIGHTS 0


Shawnee Heights (1-6);0;0;0;0;—;0


St. James Academy (3-3);21;0;7;20;—;48


St. James Academy — White 19 run (Kirby kick)


St. James Academy — McDermott 15 pass from D. Burritt (Kirby kick)


St. James Academy — Kirby 31 pass from D. Burritt (Kirby kick)


St. James Academy — Coffey 40 pass from D. Burritt (Kirby kick)


St. James Academy — Claiborne 3 pass from D. Burritt (run failed)


St. James Academy — D. Burritt 58 run (Kirby kick)


St. James Academy — Watts 7 run (Kuhn kick)


INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS


RUSHING — Shawnee Heights: Sanders 27-90, Wohler 3-18, Smith 1-5, McDaniel 2-0. St. James Academy: White 13-64, D. Burritt 4-78, Watts 5-18..


PASSING — Shawnee Heights: Wohler 5-12-2, 45 yards, Brown 0-1-0, 0 yards. St. James Academy: D. Burritt 22-32-0, 256 yards.


RECEIVING — Shawnee Heights: Showalter 3-34, Carver 1-7, Sanders 1-4. St. James Academy: H. Manning 5-51, Claiborne 9-80, White 3-53, Coffey 2-18, Boone 1-15, Kirby 2-39.


PUNTING — Shawnee Heights: Salamanca 3-39.7. St. James Academy: D. Burritt 2-44.