Sure, it was just a glorified scrimmage, but the first time Blue Springs quarterback Ian Brown completed a few passes against another squad, the senior came away with five touchdowns.
Not a bad night’s work, no matter what the circumstance.
Brown was the player everyone was talking about last Friday as Blue Springs High School played host to Liberty North, Raytown South and Lee’s Summit West in a jamboree that signaled the start of a new and exciting season for a team that is seeking a third consecutive Class 6 state championship.
With the graduation of go-to receivers Darrius Shepherd and Kaleb Prewett, there were whispers that this year's passing game might not have the high-caliber attack of last year’s squad. Brown was quick to dismiss those rumors.
“We have some great receivers this year,” said Brown, who hit Terrance Sanders for a 20-yard strike and a pair of 40-yard bombs, Tamarick Quinney for a 19-yard score and running back Cobi Bissell for an 11-yard touchdown.
“I just have to get them the ball, and the way our line was blocking tonight, that was not a problem.”
The line also made life easy for Bissell, who is excited about this year’s Blue Springs offense.
“We all saw what Ian did last year,” said Bissell, who is replacing two-time Simone Award winning running back Dalvin Warmack in the Wildcat backfield. “Teams would stack the box to stop Dalvin and he would throw four or five touchdowns.
“We were all excited to see what he and the new receivers would do in the jamboree, and he lived up to everyone's expectations. We know he is a great quarterback and this year, this is his offense.
Last year, Bissell said, Brown let Warmack and his fellow seniors lead the way. This year, seniors such as Bissell, Brown and twins Carlos and Khalil Davis have taken ownership.
“We have the chance to do something no other team from this area has ever accomplished,” Bissell said. “And it was just so much fun watching Terrance and Tamarick catch those long touchdowns. We’re all really excited about the season.”
Quinney proved his athleticism last year when he helped lead the Wildcats to a state championship in track and field by placing third in the 100 meters at state.
“I didn’t play much football last year because of all the great seniors we had, so this year, I want to make the most of it,” Quinney said. “I've worked hard to get where I am today. There is so much talent on this team, if you don’t work hard you don’t have a chance to get on the field. We were all excited about the jamboree, now, we’re excited about our opener.”
That takes place at 7 p.m. Friday at Peve Stadium against perennial Class 5 area power Staley.
“I can’t wait for the opener,” said Sanders, whose speed helped him get separation on two touchdowns. On the third, he simply stripped the ball from a defender in the end zone. “Whatever it takes – if I can outrun then, I’ll do that. If I have to fight for the ball, I’ll do that, too. Ian is a great quarterback, and he can make us look like great receivers.”
Wildcats coach Kelly Donohoe certainly liked what he saw from his proven quarterback and unproven group of wideouts.
“They looked good, all of them,” said Donohoe, whose Wildcats were 14-0 last season. “But they all know there are things that we can work on – and that's what we’re going to do this week.
“Cobi would have started on any other team in the state, but he happened to play behind a great player in Dalvin Warmack, and now that Tamarack and Terrance are getting their opportunity to play, it looks like they are going to make the most of it.”