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Examiner
  • Wildcats waltz into title game

  • It didn’t matter that, technically, this was foreign turf. It didn’t make a difference that they were 230 miles from the confines of Peve Stadium.

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  • It didn’t matter that, technically, this was foreign turf. It didn’t make a difference that they were 230 miles from the confines of Peve Stadium.
    On Friday night, the Blue Springs faithful loaded up five buses full of students and parents to watch second-ranked Blue Springs dominate DeSmet 42-7 in the Class 6 state semifinals in St. Louis.
    The Wildcat fans packed the stands, nearly outnumbering the DeSmet side. And they stayed late, interrupting Blue Springs coach Kelly Donohoe with chants of “Wildcat nation!” as he tried to address his team.
    Might as well call St. Louis Blue Springs East, because in another week the Wildcats get to try to do this all over again.
    “Unbelievable,” Donohoe said. “This is my 13th year as a head coach here and I have not had a road trip where we've had this kind of (support). … That's a really special moment that will never go away.”
    Blue Springs (12-1) turned in one of its most complete efforts to date. In the regular season, the Cats zipped past teams with an offense that averaged 45.3 points per game. In last week's district championship against Rockhurst, the defense stepped up its game in a 14-11 victory.
    Friday, both units pounded the Spartans (9-4) into submission.
    The Cats received a big play early as quarterback Wylson Lamb tossed a 47-yard bomb to junior Darrius Shepherd to put Blue Springs up 7-0 six minutes in.
    Shepherd ended with four receptions for 105 yards, all of which were snared in the first two periods.
    Junior running back Dalvin Warmack, after a modest 66-yard outing against the Hawklets, broke loose for scoring runs of 5 and 55 in the second quarter and added a 10-yard score in the second half in a 16-carry, 174-yard performance.
    “He doesn't like being held to under 150,” said Lamb, the senior who completed 9 of 12 passes for 126 yards and two touchdowns and picked up 39 yards on six attempts. “He had to come out and bust a couple. I knew it was going to happen.”
    Defensively, Blue Springs dismantled an offense that had scored at least 40 points in six of its last seven games, including a 56-35 victory over No. 1-ranked CBC last week.
    Against the Cats, the Spartans finished with zero rushing yards on 20 carries as they were stopped behind the line of scrimmage six times. They were held to minus-3 total yards in the second half before a 56-yard scoring drive in the final minutes.
    “DeSmet's a good team,” said senior defensive lineman Jason Young, who registered a pair of sacks. “But we knew we had to come out here and we had to dominate every single play. That's what we did.”
    Page 2 of 2 - The Blue Springs defense also forced two turnovers as Elijah Lee and DaShaughn Terry picked off DeSmet quarterback Conner Harrison. Lee's, which came with less than two minutes left in the first half, busted a Spartan drive that ventured into Wildcat territory and set up a final short touchdown drive just before the half to give Blue Springs a 28-0 advantage.
    “The interception before halftime … that was the play of the game,” Donohoe said. “That really kind of put them away.”
    The teams played the final 19 minutes with a running clock after Warmack's third TD – his 43rd of the season – pushed the Cats ahead 35-0. Donohoe started inserting his backups in the third period, but the domination continued as junior Donald Garcia scored on a 1-yard plunge early in the fourth.
    In the final period, Garcia garnered 28 yards on seven carries while sophomore Cobi Bissell picked up 29 yards on four rushes.
    The Wildcats will meet Francis Howell (12-1) in the Class 6 Show-Me Bowl state championship at 5:30 p.m. next Saturday at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis. The fifth-ranked Vikings downed No. 3 Lafayette-Wildwood 17-6 in Friday's other semifinal.
    This marks Blue Springs’ first appearance in the Show-Me Bowl since 2009 when the Wildcats fell to Hazelwood Central 35-24. It will be their fifth appearance overall. The Wildcats have won three state titles.
    “It's going to be football heaven,” Lamb said. “Coming in and playing in the Dome – I was there in '09 and dressed out as a freshman. That was an insane atmosphere just sitting on the sideline. I can't imagine what it's going to be like on the field.”
     
     

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