Once it got past the first-play scare Saturday, Blue Springs’ football team was able to take care of business.
The Wildcats pulled away from a dogged Lee’s Summit North squad and completed a 28-3 Suburban Big Six win in a game delayed by a lightning storm Friday.
Play was stopped Friday night at the 1:36 mark of the third quarter, with the unbeaten and top-ranked Wildcats (6-0, 2-0 conference) holding a 14-3 lead but trying to hold off a Broncos team that was putting together its best possession of the game. North (2-4, 0-2) faced a second-and-8 at the Blue Springs 38 when officials halted play.
When the teams reunited at 5 p.m. Saturday at Bronco Stadium, North tried to surprise Blue Springs with a halfback pass. James Harris came free in the Blue Springs secondary, but Josh Caldwell’s pass, perhaps affected by the stiff, cool breeze, sailed too long. Carlos Davis stopped North quarterback Matt Brumfield for a 3-yard loss on the next play, and the Broncos punted and never threatened again.
Still, Blue Springs coach Kelly Donohoe praised North, which entered Friday on a three-game losing streak, for taking the fight to his team.
“First and foremost, I’m really impressed with the job they did as a staff,” Donohoe said. “We were frustrated (Friday), but I think a lot of that frustration was caused by what they were doing.”
“We just came out today and said, ‘Let’s compete hard and get some of our mojo back.’ It was big to get that first stop.”
For North coach Ty Kohl, the missed scoring chance only added to the frustration of Friday’s stoppage halting a potential scoring drive.
“We’ve got to execute that,” he said. “We looked at film [after Friday] and thought it was something we could get.”
Despite the disappointment, Kohl applauded his defense for limiting a potent Wildcat offense to 318 yards and keeping the Broncos in the game into the fourth quarter.
“I can’t say enough about the defense,” he said. “A huge fourth-down stop against a very solid offense and Division I (college) running back.”
The Broncos did stop Kansas State commit Dalvin Warmack (31 carries, 208 yards) on fourth down early in the fourth quarter, regaining possession at the Wildcat 44. But they could only manage a 43-yard field goal try by Harris, whose boot into the wind drifted wide left.
Blue Springs promptly pieced together a pair of scoring drives. First, Warmack’s 41-yard scoot highlighted an eight-play, 80-yard drive that he capped with a 1-yard plunge behind a jumbo backfield with 6:09 remaining.
Warmack then carried for 17 and 13 yards to spark a 64-yard drive and set up Ian Brown’s 9-yard scoring toss to Darrius Shepherd with 1:56 left.
“We talked a lot the night after the game (Friday), and we wanted to come back with more energy,” Warmack said. “Our offensive line got much more aggressive.”
Warmack admitted to a sense of relief on the sideline after North misfired on its gadget play to start Saturday.
“If they score on that play, it gives them a lot of momentum and whole game is changed,” he said.
North also had two missed opportunities to start Friday. Josh Caldwell (13 carries, 43 yards) returned the opening kickoff 85 yards for a would-be touchdown that was nullified by a holding penalty.
Then, Jordan Caldwell returned an interception 41 yards to the Wildcat 29. But Matt Brumfield’s fourth-down pass to Jalen Ford in the end zone was broken up by Cobi Bissell.
Blue Springs led only 7-0 at halftime on Brown’s 29-yard TD pass to Kaleb Prewett in the second quarter. After Harris’ 47-yard field goal, the Wildcats extended the lead to 14-3 when Warmack scored on an 11-yard run to cap an 11-play, 80-yard drive. The game stopped on North’s ensuing possession.
Brown finished 10 of 22 passing for 121 yards passing, but Blue Springs limited Brumfield to 102 yards on 11-of-25 passing and limited the Broncos to 46 yards rushing.
Donohoe said his team had a hard time matching the energy of its previous three games – Rockhurst, Lee’s Summit West and Liberty – and needs to recapture that before Friday’s crosstown grudge match with Blue Springs South.
“We came off three really emotional games in a row,” Donohoe said. “It seemed they were emotionally spent. We will have a much a different level next Friday.”
Follow Mike Genet on Twitter: @genetEJC