Blue Springs tops Rock in tough battle
By Brian Spano PrepsKC Senior Writer
Well, it’s what was expected. Blue Springs and Rockhurst put on a defensive performance that didn’t disappoint with Blue Springs coming out on the positive side 14-11 in a Missouri Class 6 quarterfinal contest.
Most people expected the winner of this game to be the eventual Class 6 state champion, but let’s don’t get ahead of ourselves. This was going to be a tight, physical and emotional battle, and it was.
“I’m so proud of our defense,” Blue Springs head coach Kelly Donohoe said. “What a tremendous night for those guys.”
The first quarter took barely more than the 12 minutes to play without either team scoring, but the Hawklets (9-3) struck first when Griffin Bins bounced a 48-yard field goal over the crossbar to put Rockhurst up 3-0.
On the Wildcats’ ensuing drive, Wylson Lamb launched a 57-yard bomb to Darrius Shepherd on the first play to put Blue Springs on top 7-3, and that’s where it stood at halftime.
“Shep is such a great football player, and we knew had to find a way to get him the football,” Donohoe said. “He kept stepping up and making plays. What a great win for us against a great football team.”
In the second half, it was Shepherd again, but this time it was a 70-yard punt return. Blue Springs (11-1) led 14-3.
“We had to come out and do what we had to do and make our plays in the passing game,” Shepherd said, who finished the night with six catches and 101 yards receiving. “Our line did a great job blocking for Wylson (Lamb). He made some great plays, and I just try to come out and make big plays.”
And it looked as if that lead would hold up until the final 30 seconds of the game.
Rockhurst’s T.J. Green hit Zach Nelson down the middle of the field for a 69-yard score. The two-point conversion was good, and the Hawklets trailed 14-11.
The Wildcats recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock.
The Hawklets entered this game on an eight-game winning streak. The last time they lost was to these same Wildcats way back in week three. So both of these teams knew what to expect, and Rockhurst head coach Tony Severino knew the one player to stop was tailback Dalvin Warmack.
It worked. Warmack had a very un-Warmack like game, rushing for just 70 yards and no touchdowns, but it was the other weapons, like Shepherd that ultimately put an end to Rockhurst’s season.
“We knew they had other weapons, but the point is you have to take away the one guy from the big play, and he’s their big playmaker,” Severino said. “Number eight (Shepherd) made a big play on the kick. Things happen in a ballgame, and they just didn’t happen at the right time for us.”
This victory is now the Wildcats eighth in a row, and now earns Blue Springs the right to play in the state semifinals next week at DeSmet.
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