ST. LOUIS – As the final seconds ticked off the clock in the Dome, a dream became a reality for the Blue Springs High School football team.
Coach Kelly Donohoe's Wildcats became just the second team in the history of Class 6 football to win back-to-back championships, topping a determined Columbia Rock Bridge squad 35-14 Friday night in the Edward Jones Dome.
"It's going to take a while for this to settle in, to become reality," said Donohoe, whose squad is riding a 24-game winning streak after wrapping up a 14-0 season. "I'm just so proud of these guys. No one will ever know how hard they worked, how much this meant to them, and they weren't going to be denied."
Even with the loss of Simone Award winning running back Dalvin Warmack, the Wildcats found a way to claim the final – and biggest – win of the season.
Leading 21-0 on two Kaleb Prewett touchdown receptions, Warmack suffered a left ankle injury at 1:53 of the second period on a run that ended at Rock Bridge’s 4-yard line.
His brother, Trevon, the Wildcats center, game over to the bench and gave Dalvin a hug. Tears streamed down the face of many Blue Springs players.
"It was tough losing our leader," offensive lineman Jordan Benson said. "We looked over at Rock Bridge and a lot of them were laughing and celebrating. That made us play twice as hard. Besides, we had Cobi Bissell and we knew he was going to get the job done."
On his first carry of the game, Bissell scored on a 4-yard run to make the scored 28-0, but the Bruins weren't about to quit. They scored on an 8-yard pass with just five seconds to go in the half to gain some momentum.
Following an interception by Xavier Hamilton the Bruins made it 28-14 at 1:20 of the third period when Hayden Johnson dove into the end zone from the 1.
"That was gut-check time," Donohoe said. "We needed a big play, and we got it from Ian Brown."
The junior quarterback hit Prewett on a 46-yard pass play and Bissell then carried the ball for a 36-yard touchdown run to help the Wildcats regain momentum and a world of confidence.
"After that long run, Dalvin came over to me and told me he was proud of me," said Bissell, a junior who finished with 73 yards on just 9 carries. "That's the best compliment you can get, coming from the best back in the state."
Any thoughts of a Bruin comeback disappeared when Antwon President picked off a pass with 4:24 left in the game as the Wildcats ran out the clock with Bissell picking up the final first down.
"I'm so proud of Cobi," said Warmack, who had 69 yards on 13 carries before the injury. "This isn't about me, it's about winning back to back championships. I wish I could have made more of a contribution, but all I care about is the win."
Brown finished the night completing 11 of 18 passes for 165 yards and two touchdowns to Prewett of 17 and 8 yards. Shepherd finished with five receptions for 63 yards and a 46-yard punt return for a touchdown (see related story).
"Kaleb and Shep, what can I say?" asked Brown, grinning from ear to ear. "They're great, I'm going to miss them. I'm so happy they got that second championship. But this my first, and we have to go to work get the another one next year."
That's the plan, according to Bissell, who said the team won’t wait long to think about a three-peat.
"We enjoy this tonight and tomorrow we start thinking about next season," Bissell said. "And we hit the weight room Monday. We never took a day off after we won it last year and we're not going to take a day off this year, either."
The defense also played a big role, holding Rock Bridge to just 41 yards rushing on 35 carries and sacking Bruin quarterbacks six times for 46 yards, including three by Elijah Lee and one each from Zach Robinson and twins Carlos and Khalil Davis.
As the final seconds ticked off the stadium clock, defensive backs coach Matt Marble walked from one 30-yard line to the other 30-yard line, holding a photo of team spiritual leader Joey Butler, the late pastor who passed away from cancer last week.
The crowd stood and applauded, as did the Wildcats.
"We know Joey's watching up there," Warmack said. "He's celebrating with us, just like if he were down here on the sidelines."