The Blue Springs Wildcats made a statement Friday night at Peve Stadium – a bold statement with a multitude of exclamation points.
After taking the opening drive 80-yards in eight perfectly executed plays, to make it a 7-0 game at 8:47 of the first quarter, the Wildcats ran away from crosstown rival Blue Springs South to claim a 35-17 Class 6 District 3 championship victory.
That sets the stage for a rematch with Park Hill next Friday at Peve Stadium. The winner of that game heads to state.
“They dominated us in all three phases of game,” South coach Jon Oyler said after his 5-7 team rebounded from an 0-4 start this season to reach the district title game. “We just couldn’t get over the hump tonight and they had a lot to do with that.
“They’re a very good team.”
Junior linebacker Anthony Orlando, who was the anchor of the South defense against the Wildcats, agreed with his coach.
“They’re a tough team,” Orlando said as he consoled his teammates at midfield. “They had that good opening drive and really played well tonight. I hope they go all the way and do a great job representing Blue Springs. We have a lot of respect for the guys on that team.”
The Wildcats dominated every phase of the game.
• Quarterback Chase Donohoe was brilliant in running the offense – going 9 of 10 for 238 yards and two touchdowns, including a 21-yard pass to Tre’ Wheaton for the first score of the game.
• Running back Aveion Bailey, who has earned the No. 1 running back spot, finished with 15 carries for 103 yards and a touchdown.
• Cade Musser, who missed the second half with another shoulder injury, scored on a 37-yard touchdown strike from Donohoe and had 38 yards on the ground on just six carries.
• Caleb Marquez, the bruising fullback/linebacker, caught a 5-yard touchdown pass, scored on a 5-yard run, had two sacks and another tackle behind the line of scrimmage and opened a big hole blocking on Bailey’s score.
• Daniel Parker had two sacks and four tackles behind the line of scrimmage for a total of minus-17 yards.
• Nick Hessefort blocked a 49-yard field goal attempt by Nathan Rockwell, who connected on a 44-yard attempt earlier in the game.
“This was our most complete game,” Bailey said. “Chase was amazing, Caleb and Aveion and Cade all were great. Our defense played a great game. This was a like a statement game, especially since we’re playing Park Hill and they are the only team from Missouri to beat us this season.”
The 10-2 Wildcats lost to the defending Arkansas state champions from Fayetteville (22-17 in Week 3) and Park Hill (28-25 in Week 4), which earned a No. 1 state ranking after the Suburban Big Seven win over the Wildcats.
Park Hill downed Rockhurst 28-14 in Friday’s Class 6 District 4 title contest.
“It couldn’t have played out any better,” Wildcats coach Kelly Donohoe said when asked about the rematch against the Trojans next Friday at home. “We’re really playing well right now in all phases of the game.
“We’re playing good, fundamental football and our offense, defense and special teams are all complementing each other. I thought Chase had a nice game tonight, Aveion and Cade are really establishing themselves as premier players and Caleb is just a freak of nature. The kid can do anything out there.”
Marquez said he has no preference between offense and defense. At this time of the season, he just wants to win.
“I play with a lot of confidence,” Marquez said. “I’m not cocky, I’m confident, and I think I can make any play my coaches ask me to make. We’re all playing so well right now; it’s a great time of the season to play your best football.”
Chase Donohoe backed that statement, adding, “With Aveion, Tre’, Cade and Caleb you can attack a team with a lot of different weapons – and that’s what we’re doing right now. We’re really playing well when the games mean the most.”
Austin Terry finished the night 20 carries for 116 yards and a touchdown for South.
Michael Muehlberger, who started at quarterback in place of the injured Brody Parker, was 9 of 23 for 217 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
Azaiah Bello had an interception for the Wildcats.