Jared Lanpher sat in a classroom at Blue Springs High School, moments before a post-practice film session.

The Wildcats quarterback was in a feisty mood.

Jared Lanpher sat in a classroom at Blue Springs High School, moments before a post-practice film session.
The Wildcats quarterback was in a feisty mood.
“Nice sweater,” he called out to a teammate, “I’d like to get one like that.”
His shirtless teammate wasn’t sporting a sweater.
Think about it …
The room broke out in laughter.
“For the past three or four weeks, so many people have asked me if this is the biggest game I’ve ever played, and I’ve told them it is – until our next game.
“Well, Friday night is the biggest game I’ve ever played. It’s the biggest game any of us have ever played. And we’re ready.”
Lanpher’s 12-1 Wildcats travel to the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis to meet defending state champion Hazelwood Central at 7:30 p.m. (KCWJ 1030 AM, Fox Sports Midwest) in a clash of the prep titans.
“I think everyone expected them to be there and we expected to be there,” said two-time all-state wide receiver Keeston Terry, who has verbally committed to the University of Kansas, “so it should be a great game.
“The way we’ve won our last two games – beating Rockhurst (23-21 on a last-second 21-yard Cody Best field goal) and (undefeated) DeSmet (35-5, against a team that was averaging 46 points a game) shows we’re ready for any type of game.
“Hazelwood has some great athletes – but so do we. I think we’re ready for anything.”
Since a Week 3 17-3 loss to Rockhurst, the Wildcats have been on an amazing roll in which they have scored 50 or more points three times while averaging 48 points a game. With their No. 1 defense on the field, they are allowing less than seven points a game.
“I’ve never really seen anything like this,” veteran Wildcats coach Kelly Donohoe said. “None of us really know what happened in Week 3 against Rockhurst, but it sent a wake-up call and the kids responded.
“What this offense, defense and special teams have done since that loss is pretty amazing. We’re going to the Dome with a lot of confidence.
“And I want this team to win so badly because these kids deserve it. Not only do they win – they win the right way. They’re great kids in the classroom, in the community and obviously, on the football field. It’s going to be tough to tell them goodbye after Friday night, so we want that game to be something they never forget.”
As the game film session begins, junior running back Darrian Miller, who has rushed for 2,617 yards and scored 39 touchdowns, sits in the back of the classroom on a stack of chairs.
His 2-yard, fourth-and-two carry against Rockhurst set up the game-winning field goal and his teammates know they wouldn’t be headed to St. Louis without him.
“I’ve given him crap all year about his big rushing games, telling him anyone could rush for big yards behind our line,” defensive lineman Jordan Chrisman said. “But he got those 2 yards all by himself.”
Added Best: “I was watching on the sidelines – and his legs never quit moving. You could see him move that big pile of bodies. He’s amazing.”
And Lanpher summed it all up when he said, “Give the ball to Darrian and good things happen.”
With Lanpher running the show, Terry starring in the Wildcat formation and at wide out and Miller dominating from the backfield, the Wildcats have an abundance of offensive riches.
Add wide receiver Nick Halterman and tight end Jordan Nubine and you have, perhaps the most explosive offense in the state. Just ask DeSmet.
“I wouldn’t want to play against our offense,” Chrisman said, “because where do you start? Keeston’s the best wide receiver in the state, so you can’t put right or nine guys on the line to stop Darrian.
“If you don’t stop the run, Darrian is going to go for 200 yards and three or four scores and Jared runs the show. He’s a great quarterback who hasn’t received the attention he deserves. He’s so smart – he doesn’t make many mistakes.”
That could be the key to Friday night’s game.
“I think the team that makes the fewest mistakes wins,” said Donohoe, who is seeking his third state championship since 2001.
“We’ve had a good week. Our practice Tuesday over at the Kansas City Chiefs indoor facility wasn’t that crisp – but it was late in the day and the kids were kind of awed by being there.
“And that’s why we went. They’ve never played in a dome or inside, and we want to get them used to it. We’re practicing at SportsCity and doing everything we can to get them ready for the biggest game of their lives.”
And for some, the last game of their lives.
“I’ve been thinking about this game all week – all my life,” said 5-9, 165-pound senior linebacker Josh Padley, who is second on the team in tackles (67) and sacks (eight, including 4.5 against Rockhurst).
“It’s my last game. It’s a lot of guys’ last game. And we’ve never worked harder or paid more attention at practice than this week. We want to walk off that field as state champions. That’s the perfect way to end your football career.
“It’s just perfect.”


? WHAT: Class 6 Show-Me Bowl state final
? WHO: Blue Springs Wildcats (12-1) vs. Hazelwood Central Hawks (12-1).
? WHEN & WHERE: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis.
? RADIO: KCWJ (1030 AM), pregame starts at 5 p.m.
? TV: Fox Sports Midwest (Comcast Cable channel 48, HD channel 201).
? WHAT’S ON THE LINE: The Missouri Class 6 high school football state championship.
? THE MATCHUP: Blue Springs is seeking its fourth state championship, while Hazelwood Central is going for its fifth title. Blue Springs is 3-0 in state championship games while the Hawks are 4-9 after beating Blue Springs South 25-20 last year. … The Hawks’ leading rusher is Kelvin Austin with 1,332 yards on 225 carries. Blue Springs is led by Darrian Miller’s 2,617 yards rushing and 39 touchdowns.



Pos.    No.    Name    Hgt.    Wgt.    Yr.
QB    14    Jared Lanpher    6-1    195    sr.    RB    7    Darrian Miller    5-10    185    jr.
FB    41    Joey Jacoby    5-11    195    sr.
WR    3    Keeston Terry    6-3    185    sr.
WR    24    Nick Halterman    6-2    175    sr.
TE    82    Brady Letchworth    6-3    210    sr.
T    78    Drew Kerber    6-3    280    sr.
G    60    Patrick Mouse    6-3    265    sr.
C    53    Riley Hamilton    5-11    240    sr.
G    68    Dillon Poole    6-1    245    sr.
T    77    Boston Higgins    6-4    240    sr.
K    1    Cody Best    6-0    160    sr.

Pos.    No.    Name    Hgt.    Wgt.    Yr.
DE    91    Jordan Chrisman    6-4    270    sr.
DT    90    Garrett Bunch    6-0    250    sr.
DT    78    Drew Kerber    6-3    280    sr.
LB    2    Derrick Potter    5-11    185    sr.
LB    11    Josh Padley    5-9    165    sr.
LB    32    Jon Trocosso    6-2    200    jr.
LB    52    Lewis Foutz    6-3    210    jr.
CB    4    Aaron Peola    6-0    170    jr.
S    12    Jordan Brown    5-11    175    sr.
S    26    Mitch Perry    5-10    155    sr.
CB    5    Bernard Thomas    5-11    175    jr.
P    14    Jared Lanpher    6-1    195    sr.


Pos.    No.    Name    Hgt.    Wgt.    Yr.
QB    16    Kerry Gibson    6-2    195    sr.

RB   2    Tra Brown    5-10    180    jr.
RB    4    Rocky Smith    5-10    210    jr.
WR    9    DeAndre Young    6-3    180    sr.
WR    23    Michael Jordan    6-1    165    jr.
WR    3    Jawayne Thomas    6-0    180    sr.
T    55    Shahid Watson    6-3    255    jr.
G    58    Devin Gillespie    6-1    205    jr.
C    56    Matt Seidel    6-1    260    sr.
G    75    Dontrell Woods    6-2    285    jr.
T    85    James Harvey    6-1    215    jr.
K    86    Ryan Crandall    5-8    160    sr.

Pos.    No.    Name    Hgt.    Wgt.    Yr.
DL    66    Julian Smith    5-11    220    sr.
DL    70    Emmanuel Littles    6-0    260    sr.
DL    50    Justin Kemp    6-1    230    jr.
DL    53    Leon Arnold    6-1    265    sr.
LB    4    Rocky Smith    5-10    210    jr.
LB    10    Yomi Alli    6-1    205    sr.
LB    32    Cortland Dunlap    6-1    215    jr.
DB    3    Jawayne Thomas    6-0    180    sr.
DB    7    Brian Walker    5-11    180    sr.
DB    9    DeAndre Young    6-3    180    sr.
DB    22    Bakari Woods    5-9    155    jr.
P    16    Kerry Gibson    6-2    195    sr.


Date    Opponent    H/A    W/L    Score
8/28    Lee’s Summit West    A    W    48-13
9/4    St. Joseph Central    H    W    42-13
9/11    Rockhurst    H    L    3-17
9/18    Lee’s Summit    A    W    54-17
9/25    Raymore-Peculiar    H    W    56-14
10/2    Park Hill South    A    W    49-14
10/9    Lee’s Summit North    A    W    45-14
10/16    Blue Springs South    H    W    42-0
10/23    Liberty    A    W    51-21
10/30    Columbia Rock Bridge    H    W    49-14
11/6    Lee’s Summit*    H    W    45-12
11/13    Rockhurst**    A    W    23-21
11/20    St. Louis DeSmet***    H    W    35-5

Date    Opponent    H/A    W/L    Score
8/29    University City    A    W    14-12
9/4    Columbia Rock Bridge    A    W    31-14
9/12    Hazelwood East    H    W    28-7
9/18    Ritenour    A    W    37-6
9/26    Jackson    H    W    38-3
10/3    McCluer    H    W    48-13
10/9    Pattonville    A    W    34-8
10/17    McCluer North    A    L    10-16
10/24    Riverview Gardens    H    W    27-20
10/31    Hazelwood West    H    W    28-0
11/6    St. Louis CBC*    A    W    35-7
11/13    Lafayette-Wildwood**    H    W    41-10
11/21    Oakville***    H    W    38-8

* – state sectional playoff
** – state quarterfinal playoff
*** – state semifinal playoff