Someday soon, it's going to hit members of the state champion Blue Springs High School football. But for now, it's all still surreal, as the 14-0 Wildcats are the first team in the history of the metro area to win back-to-back Class 6 state championships.
“I still don't feel like it's real,” said 2012 Simone Award winning running back Dalvin Warmack, who watched most of the game from the sidelines after twisting his ankle in the second quarter of Friday night's 35-14 win over Columbia Rock Bridge.
“When you work so hard for something, and achieve that goal, it takes a while for it all to seem real. At least, it does for me.”
Many of his senior teammates felt the same way.
“Friday was just an awesome experience,” said wide receiver/defensive back Kaleb Prewett, who caught two Ian Brown touchdown passes and hauled in a 47-yard bomb that set the stage for a Cobi Bissell touchdown run that sealed the win for the Wildcats.
“Before the (47-yard pass) Coach D (Kelly Donohoe) came up to me and said, 'We need a big play to change the momentum.' They had just scored their second touchdown, Dalvin was on the sidelines on crutches and we needed something to get everyone going.
“I was happy to contribute. I've had a lot of great moments with this team, but nothing will top Friday night. It was the most awesome feeling of all.”
Elijah Lee, who won the Buck Buchanan Award last year as the metro area's top lineman or linebacker, ended his brilliant prep career with three sacks and a special team block that set the stage for Darrius Shepherd's game-opening punt return for a 49-yard score.
“I love playing on special teams, because you can just knock the mess out of someone,” Lee said, eliciting a few chuckles from his teammates. “And it was nice to play a team that didn't know much about me. So many teams come up with different schemes to stop me, but Rock Bridge didn't.
“I spent a lot of time in their backfield. We all did.”
One play everyone at the Edward Jones Dome was talking about was Shepherd's punt return, with Gunnar Strickland clearing the path to the end zone with a tooth-rattling block.
“I got the first block from Elijah, then I saw Gunnar out of the corner of my eye,” Shepherd said, “so I kind of slowed down so he could block that last guy.”
“I hit him pretty good,” Strickland said. “That play pretty much sums up our team. Shep gets some good blocks and sets the stage for the biggest win of the season. We won for our team, our coaches – especially Coach (Tim) Dade (who is retiring) and for Joey (Butler, Blue Springs pastor who recently passed away from cancer).
Page 2 of 2 - “Someday, it's all going to sink in that we accomplished our goal. We did what no one thought we could do, we made history and we won back-to-back state championships. And when we really it, when it finally sinks in, it's going to feel great!”
Follow Bill Althaus on Twitter: @AlthausEJC