What Steve Said: Steve Bubalo 11/22

By Ste
Posted: November 25, 2018 - 10:04 AM

Blue Springs vs. Rockhurst. It never fails to disappoint.

Saturday’s Class 6 state semifinal was no different. It wasn’t the most fundamentally sound or well-played football game, but these two teams know how to make a football game exciting, as the Hawklets squeaked out a 14-13 victory.

A lot times a close game like this can come down to a turnover or a big offensive play. In fact, I’m sure there have been plenty of games between the two teams that have been decided by that exact thing. But the difference here was a first for me, with a blocked field goal being the most talked-about play afterward.

Rockhurst’s Tommy Eckels had the play of the game late in the fourth quarter, blocking a 30-yard field goal that would have given Blue Springs the lead. I couldn’t believe it.

“There’s always something new,” Rockhurst head coach Tony Severino said of what seems to happen when his team faces the Wildcats. “Always is and always will be. You expect that.”

“It was another classic,” Wildcats head coach Kelly Donohoe said.

In a way, I think Severino and Donohoe might have been my biggest takeaway from this game. The job these two coaches did with their respective teams this season was very impressive. They are two of the best coaches in the state of Missouri, no doubt about it.

These weren’t two of the more talented Blue Springs and Rockhurst teams I’ve seen play. They were both limited in their own way, but Severino and Donohoe are able to get the most out of their players. And much respect to every player on that field Saturday. The conditions weren’t great, but they were playing their tails off.

Unfortunately, my other biggest takeaway was the referees. You just can’t mention that game without mentioning the striped shirts. They had a rough game. From what I heard, the crew was brought over from St. Louis. Why, exactly? I don’t know, as I’m sure Kansas City has some excellent referees. I don’t know the process MSHSAA uses to pick the referees, but for such a big game, there were too many bad calls.

Among other things, Rockhurst quarterback appeared to take a hit to the helmet that knocked him out of the game right before halftime but no flag was thrown. Blue Springs recovered a fumbled squib kick in the first quarter which would have completely changed the momentum of the game, but an inadvertent whistle ruled the play dead and no recovery for the Wildcats. Rockhurst would score four plays later, which just so happened to be its final points of the game.

Mistakes happen. I get it. I was just disappointed - as I’m sure were others - that a game of that magnitude had some glaring mistakes.

But when you get past that, this was just an exciting football game. You didn’t want to see either team lose. It was your typical Rockhurst-Blue Springs battle. I’m sure they’ll do it all over again next year.