What Steve said: Steve Bubalo 11/5

Steve Bubalo

By Steve Bubalo PrepsKC Senior Writer
Posted: November 10, 2014 - 9:31 AM

There aren’t many things better in sports than a rivalry game between two teams that, though they respect each other, don’t like each other. 

Have that rivalry game be in the playoffs and it’s even better.

That’s what I will get to witness Friday night when Blue Springs travels to Rockhurst for a Class 6 state quarterfinal game.

As a sports writer, these are the games you love. The atmosphere will just be different.

And make no mistake about the dislike these two schools have for each other. Being a Blue Springs South grad, these are the two schools I wanted to beat most, no matter the sport.

I can’t imagine the feeling is any different between the other two. Sure, you respect the tradition the other has, you respect the winning, and you respect the success.

But once it’s game time, none of that matters. When that schedule comes out each year, you can bet players from both sides are circling the other. That game just means more.

When you consider the success both programs have had in the last 10 to 15 years, it’s easy to understand why, and it’s no surprise they have faced off several times in the playoffs.

Since the 2002 season, they have seen each other eight times in the playoffs with Rockhurst holding a 5-3 edge. Five of the times they’ve played, the winner has gone on to claim the state title. And while the first five matchups since 2002 were all decided by 14 or more points, that’s been a different story as of late.

The last three meetings have been decided by a touchdown or less – two by a field goal or less. The game this season came by the slimmest of margins as well, as the Hawklets squeaked out a 14-13 win.

But while the Hawklets have the better record this season – 10-1 compared with 8-3 – the Wildcats are the hunted. Back-to-back state championships will do that.

Both teams are coming in playing well. Rockhurst, after a Week 2 loss, has reeled off nine straight wins, only being challenged in two of those, both of which were one-point wins.

Meanwhile, Blue Springs has bounced back from uncharacteristic back-to-back midseason losses to win four straight, all by 18 or more points. Most impressive was last week’s 42-17 win over a Raymore-Peculiar team that had won six straight, including a 31-13 win over the Wildcats.

Something tells me Blue Springs gets it done and they avenge the loss earlier in the season. I wish I had a good reason as to why. Could it be Ian Brown’s experience in big games at quarterback? The havoc the Davis twins can wreak on the defensive line? Sure, those work.

In reality, as the cliché goes, you never know what to expect in rivalry games.

And I, for one, like it that way and want it to continue Friday night. And I expect it to.