• Cats eager for showdown with DeSmet

  • Their bags are packed and Kelly Donohoe's Blue Springs football team is ready for a road trip.

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  • Their bags are packed and Kelly Donohoe's Blue Springs football team is ready for a road trip.
    At 10:30 this morning, the Wildcats boarded a bus for St. Louis, where they will meet DeSmet in a Class 6 state semfinal game at 7 p.m. this evening (the game will be broadcast on KCWJ 1030 AM).
    “Some of the parents are going to come up and feed the guys, then we're going to stop in Columbia to try and break up the monotony a little bit,” said Donohoe, whose Wildcats edged Rockhurst 14-11 last Friday at home in the state quarterfinals.
    “We wish the game was at Peve Stadium. When you're a No. 1 seed, and you have to travel to a No. 3 seed's stadium, well, that's one thing I don't like about the new playoff system.
    “But that's all right. We hope it means back-to-back weekends in St. Louis.”
    The winner of tonight's game will advance to the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis next Saturday for the Class 6 state championship game.
    Unranked DeSmet (9-3) stunned No. 1 Christian Brothers College High School 56-35 in the state quarterfinals after losing to the St. Louis powerhouse 49-12 in the regular season.
    “DeSmet is going to be a handful,” Donohoe said. “They put a lot of points on the scoreboard last week, and they're playing their best football of the season. They're very aggressive on both sides of the ball, so we have to be ready for anything they throw at us.”
    Rockhurst found out last week that stopping 1,900-yard rusher Dalvin Warmack doesn't guarantee a winner as the second-ranked Wildcats (11-1) have multiple offensive weapons.
    “Dalvin ran for the toughest 66 yards of his life last week against the Rock,” Donohoe said. “We expect teams to come in and put eight guys in the box in an attempt to stop Dalvin, and we're OK with that because we have so many offensive weapons.”
    Darrius Shepherd has become one of quarterback Wylson Lamb's favorite targets as he has touchdown receptions and punt returns for touchdowns the past two weeks.
    “Darrius is a big-play guy,” Donohoe said. “When you get a punt return for a touchdown, it just fires everyone up. And he can catch the long ball, too. We have a lot of confidence in Wylson and all the guys he throws to.”
    And from Day 1, Donohoe has said this defense has the potential to be among the best he has coached.
    “I like our defense,” Donohoe said. “It all starts up front, and the guys on the defensive line have done a tremendous job this season. Elijah Lee (who moved to Blue Springs from St. Joseph Central High School) has really found his niche on that line. He's one of those first-to-arrive and last-to-leave guys, and he is so talented and gifted from a physical point of view.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Lee leads the Wildcats with 16 sacks, but he's not about to take time to pat himself on the back.
    “We're a team, and all we care about is winning,” the soft-spoken Lee said. “I found my home with the Wildcats.”
    And he hopes to find a championship ring when the season concludes next Saturday in St. Louis.
    “It's all about the ring, about bringing that championship back to Blue Springs,” defensive tackle Jason Young said. “To end my career at Blue Springs with a state championship would be perfect. I know Coach Donohoe has said we might be one of the best defenses he has ever coached, and if we win a state championship, we'll prove him right.”

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