View From the Press Box: Dion Clisso 7/26

Dion Clisso

By Dion Clisso PrepsKC Managing Editor
Posted: July 27, 2018 - 8:39 AM

Last week Lou Shepherd passed away at the age of 44. The Blue Springs graduate is a name that may not be known to a lot of Metro football fans, but he is one that should be remembered.

Shepherd was a star on the Wildcats teams of the early 1990s. He was a two-time all-state receiver and defensive back helping Blue Springs to three conference championships, two district championships and two appearances in the Missouri Class 5 semifinals. He would go on to play at the University of Missouri where he was a starter for the Tigers.

After college he made his home in Blue Springs with his wife Amy and their three children. Shepherd’s oldest son Darrius was also a two-time all-state player for Blue Springs. He would help lead the Wildcats to back to back state titles in 2012 and 2013.

Lou Shepherd graduated the year before Blue Springs would break through with its first-ever state championship in 1992. Before that year the Wildcats were a good program that would run into Rockhurst or Jefferson City.

In 1990 and 1991 Lou’s teams fell to Jeff City in the semifinals both years. Even though those teams didn’t break through the program was getting closer. In 1991 the Wildcats again seemed poised to challenge Jefferson City. They had beaten Rockhurst in the sectionals and had a home game against Oak Park in the quarterfinals.

Oak Park was a good program and the teams waged a classic that Blue Springs led most of the night 10-7. Late in the fourth quarter Oak Park mounted a drive and scored to make it 14-10 with under 30 seconds left in the game.

I was just a fan who would start working at the Blue Springs Examiner just about a month later, but I watched that game on a chilly Monday night in November. I stood outside the fence in the east end zone as Blue Springs quarterback Nate Minnis walked out to try to pull a rabbit out of a hat and save the Wildcats’ season.

The drive started at the Blue Springs 32-yard line and on the first play Minnis found Shepherd over the middle for a 21-yard reception. The next play Shepherd ran a post and caught the ball on the sidelines and got out of bounds inside the 5-yard line to stop the clock with about five seconds left. Minnis would run it in on the next play with no time left win the game and send Blue Springs to the semifinals.

Shepherd’s 1991 team wouldn’t make it to the state championship game but the come from behind win is a part of the building of what is now one of the top football programs in Missouri.

In fact, former Blue Springs Activities Director and football coach Tim Crone said it was the best game ever played at Peave Stadium. I know it was one of the best finishes I have ever seen.

That’s one of the few football games I saw Shepherd play. I would start at The Examiner the next month and I got to see him play a lot of basketball games and run track. He was a true three-sport star.

Lou Shepherd is gone too soon but he won’t be forgotten by those who knew him or saw him play at Blue Springs.