Now that a grueling 14-week football season is complete, it's time for two-time Examiner Offensive Player of the Year Dalvin Warmack to make an admission.
“There were times – especially before the start of the season, when we knew how good we were going to be – that things were kind of overwhelming,” said Warmack, who broke free for game-breaking touchdown runs with the ease most of us experience when we take a walk to the street corner to pick up our mail.
“But I didn't want anyone to know I felt that way. People were saying I wasn't going to have another 2,000-yard season and that we didn't have a chance to win a second state championship, and those things fire you up. It fired all of us. We went out this season with a purpose – to prove anyone who doubted us wrong and to become one of the best teams in the history of Blue Springs High School and the state of Missouri.”
The Wildcats ran the table on opponents, finishing the memorable campaign with a 14-0 record that included a 35-14 victory over Columbia Rock Bridge in the Class 6 state title game.
Warmack rushed for 2,223 yards and scored 30 touchdowns on the ground behind a line that returned just one starter from last season, all-state senior Jordan Benson.
“We have to talk about my line,” said Warmack, who always pointed out the contribution of his teammates following every Wildcat victory. “Jordan was back, and everyone else was new, including my brother Trevon (who made the switch from defensive line to center).
“Everyone said our line in 2012 was the best in school history, and it was a great line. But this year's line got better every week, and when we beat Lee's Summit West (in a 42-35 shootout on the Titans home field) they really came together. That was the game I think we can all point to where they became as good as any line we've had. I'm proud of that group.”
He's also proud of first-year quarterback Ian Brown and two of the best wide receivers in the state, Darrius Shepherd and Kaleb Prewett.
“Those guys took a lot of pressure off me,” Warmack said, grinning. “If they put eight guys in a box to stop me, Ian was going to burn them. We all knew Shep was going to have a big year, and Kaleb made some huge catches. It was a team effort from Game 1 to the championship game.
While his teammates speak in awe of the future Big 12 running back, no one appreciates his talent or low-key approach to the game more than coach Kelly Donohoe.
“Dalvin is just a special kid and a special player,” Donohoe said of Warmack, who has verbally committed to Kansas State. “We knew that for a long time, and now everyone knows it. He just keeps winning these awards, and he deserves every one of them.
“We may never have another run like this as long as I'm at Blue Springs High School,” Donohoe said. “And the great thing about a kid like Dalvin is that he will give everyone else all the credit.”
Now that he has a quiet moment to reflect on one of the greatest team and individual success stories in the history of the school, Warmack still points the spotlight in the direction of his teammates and coaching staff.
“It was a team effort – offense, defense, special teams – and we have the best coaches in the country,” he said. “We went out and proved everyone wrong that said we couldn't repeat. No team from the area had ever done it, and I think the guys have a good shot at winning again next season and I'm going to follow them all season long.
“This year, we had one goal – repeating at state. Winning the Simone Award and the Gatorade Award and now The Examiner Player of the Year award are great honors, honors I can share with my teammates. But we won the ultimate goal, and that's the best part of this season.”