Blue Springs too much for CBC

Courtesy of The Examiner

By Dave Kvidahl Special to PrepsKC
Posted: November 12, 2016 - 1:01 AM

Kelly Donohoe wanted to squeeze blood from a clock.

His Blue Springs football team did just that.

With its massive man-mauling offensive line, Blue Springs punished CBC at every opportunity in a 35-21 Class 6 semifinal victory Friday at CBC.

The No. 3 team in the Class 6 Missouri Media rankings, Blue Springs (11-2) advanced to play No. 2 Kirkwood (11-1) in the state championship game at 7 p.m. next Friday at Faurot Field. It's the third state title game appearance for the Wildcats in the last five years and the first since they won back-to-back titles in 2012 and 2013.

“Our kids have bought into our mojo which is we're going to pound you and then we're going to pick you with some play action and we're going to play hard, fast defense,” said Donohoe, Blue Springs coach. “Our kids have bought into that and we're doing it.”

Blue Springs put together two drives, one in each half, that broke CBC. In the first half it pounded its way down the field on a 21-play drive that ate up 7 minutes and 40 seconds. Senior quarterback Dylan Cowling capped it with a 12-yard touchdown pass to senior receiver Joey Janes to go ahead 28-7 with 1 minute and 18 seconds to play in the first half.

It bridged the third and fourth quarter with an 18-play drive that went nearly nine and a half minutes. Cowling put the finishing touches on the drive, and the game, when he punched in a 1-yard touchdown to make it 35-14 with 6:34 remaining.

“All week we talked about how we'd let the play clock run down to the final seconds before every snap,” Cowling said. “We did a pretty good job of that and had the clock running down on them.”

Blue Springs racked up 213 yards on the ground and has now rushed for 1,209 yards and 23 touchdowns in the postseason. With that type of production why would the Wildcats ever throw the ball?

“There are times when you have to throw it,” Donohoe said. “If you want to be a great running team you have to have the ability to throw it or they're just going to lock the box all the time on us.”

Cowling completed 6 of 9 passes for 129 yards and a touchdown. He rushed for 75 yards and a touchdown, too. It was a joyous occasion for Cowling after one of the hardest days of his life.

“I can't describe it. I've dreamed of this since I was 5 years old,” he said. “With my grandpa passing last night it's an unbelievable feeling.”

Junior running back Jaylen Ivey rushed for 44 yards on 14 carries and scored a pair of 3-yard touchdowns. Junior tailback Michael Warmack rushed for 57 yards on 14 carries.

By keeping the ball away from CBC it didn't let the Cadets execute their hurry-up offense most of the night. When it had the ball, CBC showed it could score fast.

Sophomore quarterback Brett Gabbert directed the Cadets on a 62 yard scoring drive in 29 seconds. He hit highly recruited junior receiver Kamryn Babb for a 6-yard touchdown that made it 28-14 with 35 seconds to play before halftime.

Gabbert completed 14 of 24 passes for 206 yards and one score. Senior running back Kaleb Allen rushed for 39 yards and a touchdown. Junior running back Antoine Higgins scored a 20-yard touchdown that made it 14-7 with 1:22 in the first quarter.

But the Cadets never got their nose in front. When Allen scored to make it 35-21 with four and a half minutes to play CBC attempted an onside kick only it never went the required 10 yards. It was the third special teams miscue that doomed CBC.

The first was the opening kickoff when Blue Springs' Tyree King went 90 yards over 15 seconds and scored to give the Wildcats a lead they'd never relinquish. The second came after Higgins' touchdown. CBC forced a three-and-out. On the ensuing punt the Cadets' return man bobbled the ball and the Wildcats pounced on it. Four plays later Ivey made it 21-7 on his second touchdown of the game.

“We didn't come out as fast as we'd have liked to and we made a few mistakes. They're a great team, hats off to them,” CBC senior tight end and linebacker Benji Gormley said. “They took their opportunity and made good with it.”