Sure, Blue Springs has some things to clean up before it hosts longtime rival Rockhurst next week.
But after two close losses to top-level opponents, the Wildcats simply had to enjoy Friday’s 42-0 runaway win at home against state-line crossover foe Shawnee Mission West.
Senior backs Michael Warmack and Jaylen Ivey each rushed for two touchdowns, and Chase Donohoe clicked on 14 of 17 passes for 199 yards and another score as the Wildcats improved to 3-2 overall.
On defense, Blue Springs recorded a pair of turnovers and limited West (0-3) – a traditionally solid program under longtime coach Tim Gallagher but going through a rough spell this season – to less than 20 net yards.
“It feels good to feel good again,” Blue Springs coach Kelly Donohoe said. “It was a tough couple of weeks, but it felt good to bounce back.
“We got all the seniors on the field, which was good on homecoming.”
Blue Springs punted away its first possession but still scored soon after that, as a West punt snap sailed over Ray Chavez’s head into the end zone, leaving him little choice but to boot the ball through for a safety.
After the ensuing free kick, a pair of Tre’ Wheaton receptions set up Ivey’s 2-yard TD run. Ivey added the two-point conversion.
The Vikings made a bid to slice the lead, aided by pair of helmet-to-helmet penalties by the Wildcats, but Nick Hessefort intercepted a deep ball near the goal line.
“They always ran that wheel route, so I knew it could come my way,” the senior cornerback said. “I just went up and made a play. Turnovers are big part of the game, and we got two tonight.”
The second turnover came early in the second period, after a blitzing Xavier Hall made strip sack and recovered CJ Callaghan’s fumble at the West 44. Blue Springs eventually converted that into Sam Knowlton’s 26-yard field goal at the 5:45 mark.
The Wildcats could’ve had a touchdown instead, but a high snap on first-and-goal pushed them back to the 30, and a would-be TD pass from Donohoe to Warmack was nullified by penalty.
“We overcame those for the most part,” Kelly Donohoe said of his team’s mistakes, “but we can’t afford those against really good opponents.
“We had some new kids up front playing for us. Beau Stevens, he’s the first freshman to start on the offensive line for us. We think he’s going to be a good one.”
After forcing a punt, Blue Springs tacked on a pair of touchdowns before halftime, sandwiched by Ray Paniagua covering Knowlton’s onside kick.
Hessefort’s 20-yard catch on third down helped overcome another high snap into the backfield, and three plays later Warmack (8 rushes, 63 yards) scored from 5 yards out. Ivey’s 3-yard jaunt with 28 seconds left capped another snappy drive.
Ivey, in his second game back recovering from knee surgery, had 74 yards on nine carries.
“He’s getting back to where he was,” Kelly Donohoe said of Ivey. “We wanted to get him about 10 or 12 carries tonight.”
Wheaton finished with five catches for 66 yards, Caleb Marquez had four catches for 64 yards, including a 32-yard touchdown in the third quarter, and Hessefort added three catches for 46 yards.
“Nick’s a special kid,” Donohoe said. “He’s a great athlete, and we’ve been looking for ways to get him more involved. He’s got a little big-play ability about him.”
Hessefort said the Wildcats were relaxed but still possessed good focus against West.
“We knew they weren’t as strong as our last two opponents, but they could still hurt us, so we focused on the little things,” he said. “Since Cade Musser has been hurt, I’m kind of filling in at receiver. You’ve got to step up and be a team player.”