Out of reach

Debbie Squires/PrepsKC

By Cole Young PrepsKC Senior Writer
Posted: November 18, 2016 - 9:17 PM

A slow start and injuries proved to be too much for Blue Springs.

The Wildcats fell to Kirkwood 31-14 in the Class 6 MSHSAA Show-Me Bowl.

Even at full strength, the Wildcats may have struggled with the Pioneers and their standout quarterback Reece Goddard.

He finished the game 336 total yards of offense, 196 through the air and 140 on the ground. Additionally, he threw for three touchdowns and ran for another.

“Very rarely do you see a kid that you are so impressed with,” Blue Springs head coach Kelly Donohoe said of Goddard.  “Guys like that are winners and they scare you. You watch him on film and read about him and he scares you. We are happy for a kid like that to win a state title. He’s the kind of kid who deserves to wear a ring.”

Blue Springs played mostly without standout running back Jaylen Ivey who was nursing an ankle injury. Ivey played for a series and a half, scoring a touchdown before leaving shortly thereafter with an injured knee. He would spend the second half on crutches.

From the start, Blue Springs found itself in trouble.

“Kirkwood played a hell of a football game,” Donohoe said. “No excuses, they outplayed us. We made mistakes, but it didn’t cost us the game. The thing that cost us the game was that quarterback and whole bunch of good players who executed all night long.”

In the first half Kirkwood took the early lead and never looked back.

On their first drive of the game, the Pioneers marched 81 yards on just three plays. It was a precursor of what the rest of the first half would look like.

Goddard hit Tahj Telfair on a 40-yard touchdown pass making easy work of the Blue Springs defense.

Kirkwood would go on to score on each of its first three possessions all touchdown passes by Goddard. He connected with Joe Jordan on a 17-yard score and Telfair from four yards.

The Pioneers averaged over 10 yards per play in the first half, ending the game with 438 yards of offense compared with 294 for the Wildcats.

Goddard said their offense felt confident after watching Kirkwood’s last state title game in 2012 against Fort Osage.

“Playing this defense, it’s the same defense we played in 2012 when we won, so I watched a lot of that game,” he said.

Trailing 21-0 Blue Springs found itself up against a must-score situation. The Wildcats were able to close the gap to 14 when Ivey scored on an eight-yard run.

The Wildcats added another touchdown when Caleb Marquez scored on a 19-yard run.

Blue Springs had a chance to close the game to within a score early in the fourth quarter, but penalties started to plague the Wildcats.

Instead the Wildcats were forced to punt on that drive, giving the Pioneers back the ball.

From there Goddard went back to work. Faced with a 3rd and 20, Goddard ripped off a 29-yard run to extend the Pioneer drive.

“Well, when they first called it, Joe (Jordan) looked at me like they were crazy, like what are they doing,” Goddard said. “I said ‘Joe, trust me it’s going to work.’ We knew they were expecting the pass, so we had kept that play in our pocket all year, the qb draw. It was the right play at the right time.”

That set up a 32-yard field goal for Kirkwood that ended any comeback hopes for Blue Springs.

It was the first Class 6 title for Kirkwood, the smallest Class 6 school in the state.