BS South breaks Blue Springs losing streak

By Stephen Bubalo PrepsKC Senior Writer
Posted: September 5, 2015 - 12:20 AM

Blue Springs South was well aware of The Streak.

Typically one of the stronger programs in the Metro, it’s unusual for the Jaguars to have a seven game losing streak against anybody, but to have that streak be against cross-town rival Blue Springs, the sting had to be even worse.

But thanks to some big plays Friday night, South was able to sweat out a 27-24 victory to move to 3-0.

"There was all kinds of talk,” Jaguar’s safety and back-up quarterback Cale Connors said of the losing streak. "They’re a great football team. That was big. It’s nice to beat them."

Connors had a big hand in the win, and he did it on both sides of the ball.

South’s starting quarterback Noah Nigro was having a solid all-around game before having to leave the game with a shoulder injury, giving way to Connors.

The junior entered with six minutes, 29 seconds left in the game and South clinging to a 24-16 lead after a Blue Springs touchdown. On his first play from scrimmage, Connors took the ball on a designed run and fumbled.

It appeared Blue Springs recovered at first, but it was the Jaguars who emerged from the pile with the ball.

"I’m grateful we were able to get on it,” Connors said with a smile. "That would have been a big, game-changing play. I couldn’t tell who fell on it. It was a great play whoever it was.”

From there, Connors - who started several games a season ago at quarterback - would have two big plays with his arm. One was a third-and-5 completion for 10 yards to Briley Moore-McKinney, but the biggest was a 52-yard strike to Rickey Nichols on third-and-9 to set up an eventual 20-yard field goal by Jake Roark to give South a pivotal two-score lead at 27-16.

"We saw they were playing man-to-man, so we did an inside shade and Rickey got a great release,” Connors said. "The line gave me time and thankfully, I was able to get him the ball.”

Added South head coach Greg Oder, “He (Connors) played half the season last year. We know he’s cool under pressure. It was a hot box (situation). But he’s always cool.”

With just 2:03 left on the clock and zero timeouts remaining for Blue Springs, it appeared the field goal had sealed the win. But the Wildcats wouldn’t go quietly, marching down the field in just five plays as Dylan Cowling found Tanner Taula from 17 yards out for the score to make it 27-24.

But the ensuing onside kick went out of bounds and the Jaguars ran out the clock, denying the young Wildcats a chance for a comeback win.

The loss drops the Wildcats to 0-3 on the season, but each week they've continued to show signs of improvement against a tough schedule.

"It’s weird to be 0-3 and for me to tell you that I’m excited about where we’re at,” Blue Springs head coach Kelly Donohoe said. “We're going to start rolling. We had a lot of young guys step up tonight. The future is very, very bright and it starts next Friday. I told the guys that we got our exhibition games out the way. We can only get better.”

The game looked like an early-season contest, as it had its ugly moments throughout, as there were several penalties, each team turned the ball over twice and both teams left some points on the board with stalled drives.

"It was ugly at times, but it’s just week three," Oder said.

With the score tied at 7-all, South gained some breathing room when Kaylob Hutsell ran for a 39-yard score, which was followed by a sack and forced fumble by South’s Elijeh Tauai. The Jaguars recovered on the Blue Springs 4-yard line and three plays later Adam Cofield was in the end zone from 3 yards out for a 21-7 lead.

"That was a big thing for us,” Connors said of the turnover and early lead. "That got some momentum going."

From there, the scoring was scarce other than a Blue Springs safety in the second quarter and another Roark field goal for South in the third. Each team was unable to cash in on some good scoring chances until Blue Springs’ fourth-quarter drive that pushed them to within 24-16 on a 28-yard touchdown run by Michael Warmack.

Warmack and Jaylen Ivey filled in nicely after starter Trenton Spruell went down early in the game. Ivey would go on to rack up 142 yards.

But it wouldn't be enough, as South helped erase the memory of some lopsided losses to the Wildcats in recent years.

"The last few years haven’t been (close),” Oder said. “It feels good. The kids have worked hard for it."

Added Connors, "It’s really special. We know we’re going to get everything they’ve got. It’s fun to play those guys."