Blue Springs makes a statement

PrepsKC staff

By Steve Bubalo PrepsKC Senior Writer
Posted: November 11, 2017 - 9:27 PM

Two months ago, Blue Springs went on the road and lost to Park Hill, 28-25, and it was the second loss in a row for the Wildcats, a team that was one of the favorites to win a state title in Class 6 this season. That game might have been one of the turning points of the season.

“After our Week 4 loss, we were really disappointed with our play up front,” head coach Kelly Donohoe said. “We made that a big emphasis moving forward. Around Week 9, it felt like we were forming into a really good team. When you can run like we do that sets other things up. I think that’s the winning formula in high school, to be physical up front and wear teams down.”

Blue Springs got a rematch with Park Hill Saturday afternoon and showed how dominant they have become up front, rolling to a 34-14 win behind the big boys in the trenches.

“At our place we did a great job against them,” Park Hill head coach Josh Hood said about containing the Blue Springs defensive line in the first meeting. “We put ourselves in some obvious situations (today) and Daniel (Parker) and that crew made some outstanding plays.”

Parker and the rest of the defense held the Trojan offense to their lowest-scoring output of the season. Park Hill rushed for less than 100 yards as a team and quarterback Billy Maples finished the game nine-of-26 for 183 yards, with a decent amount of those coming once the game was already decided.

With the Blue Springs offense jumping out to a 27-6 halftime lead, it put Maples and the offense into comeback mode, forcing them to go to the air often. Parker and the rest of the defensive line would take advantage and make life difficult for Maples.

“When we’re up like that and we know they’re going to pass we can go get him,” Parker said. “That’s my specialty. … And when you have a secondary like we do that can give us three-to-five seconds to get after the quarterback it becomes pretty simple. It makes our job a lot easier.”

Parker, the University of Missouri commit, and Caleb Marquez may be the marquee names up front, but Donohoe made a point to mention senior Khristian Boyd.

“A guy that doesn’t get enough credit is (Khristian) Boyd,” Donohoe said. “He disrupts things in the middle so much, and that frees things up for Daniel and Caleb.”

The two teams traded touchdowns and missed extra points in the first quarter for a 6-all tie before Blue Springs busted the game open. Marquez scored his second short touchdown early in the second quarter for a 13-6 lead. After a three-and-out forced by the defense, the offense marched right down and scored again, this time on a 7-yard run from Cade Musser to make it 20-6.

And just before the half, needing to go 52 yards in less than a minute, quarterback Chase Donohoe found a wide-open Tre Wheaton on third down for a 48-yard touchdown and a 27-6 lead with 27 seconds remaining.

“That kind of took the wind out of them,” Kelly Donohoe said. “That was a good dagger play before half.”

And the way the Blue Springs defense was playing, it was asking a lot of the Park Hill offense to get back in the game.

“We had to make plays and make them early,” Hood said, as his team wrapped up a successful season with a 10-3 record and a conference title. “When we didn’t it took us out of what we wanted to do.”

Marquez would add his third touchdown run of the game midway through the fourth quarter, set up by a 77-yard run from Aveion Bailey, to put the finishing touches on the win.

It was a satisfying victory for the Wildcats for several reasons. They appear to be peaking at the right time, dominating all four of their playoff opponents en route to next Saturday’s title game matchup with CBC in Springfield. Also, it felt good to get some revenge.

“This is amazing,” Marquez said. “All the weeks of preparation and time game-planning, it was great to beat them after losing to them before. We were ready.”