Kelly Donohoe had a relatively short checklist for his Blue Springs football team Friday against a visiting St. Joseph Central squad that clearly was overmatched.
The Wildcats didn’t leave their coach disappointed before they walked off the turf at Peve Stadium, scoring on seven of their first eight possessions to get plenty of non-starting seniors some playing time in the second half of what became a 49-7 non-conference win over the Indians on Senior Night.
Ian Brown completed 7 of 10 passes for 188 yards and five touchdowns – all in the first half – Cobi Bissell rushed for 156 yards on 13 carries and a defense that played without injured lineman Khalil Davis and Trevon Warmack only bent after the Wildcats had built a healthy lead. Blue Springs also avoided many penalties (just three) and committed its lone turnover when the backups played in the second half.
“We wanted to get a little bit better tonight,” Donohoe said after his team improved to 3-1 with games against Lee’s Summit and at Rockhurst on tap. “We’re ready to move on to Lee’s Summit and get Khalil back and get Trevon back.
“We wanted to be clean up front tonight with the run game, and I think we were. We wanted our receivers to step up, and they did.”
Junior receiver/return man Terrance Sanders had a particularly electrifying performance. All three of his catches went for touchdowns, his 57-yard punt return in the first quarter set up the second score for Blue Springs, and a 71-yard kick return after the Indians’ lone score set up another touchdown in the second quarter.
Four plays into the game Sanders turned a short catch into a 36-yard touchdown. Central (0-4) then punted, and Sanders let the ball bounce a couple times before picking it up next to the sideline, and a couple moves later the speedster was up the sideline to the Indians' 23. Bissell then took a Brown swing pass 11 yards for the game’s second score just 4:28 in.
“I was just trying to see where the defense was at ... making sure I had enough room,” Sanders said of his punt return.
Blue Springs’ only scoreless possession came after Sanders dropped a would-be touchdown from the 29, but Brown went right back up top for Sanders on the next possession, and he hauled in the bomb for a 60-yard score.
“If there’s a time for him to drop a touchdown, it was tonight,” Donohoe said. “That doesn’t happen much; he’s got great hands.”
Bissell added a 19-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, as Blue Springs capitalized on three straight St. Joseph punts of less than 20 yards. After the Indians drove 81 yards in 12 plays for a score – Israel Smith provided the TD with a 1-yard plunge – Brown added two scoring tosses before halftime. A 22-yarder to Tamarick Quinney came after Sanders’ big kick return, and a 42-yard heave to Sanders came with a minute before halftime.
Sanders said it’s fun to be on the receiving end of so many deep passes from a proficient passer like Brown, who is committed to Holy Cross.
“He’s a pretty good quarterback,” Sanders said.
Bissell provided the last score in the third quarter. After he fell on a dropped pitch, leaving the Cats with third-and-17, Bissell weaved through the middle, shed a couple tacklers and rumbled for a 75-yard touchdown.
With a running clock, both coaches aimed to burn through the second half quickly. Defensively, Bryant Alvarez had two of the Cats’ five stops behind the line of scrimmage.
“They’re a very, very good team, a very well-coached team, and they’ve got a lot more speed than we do,” Central coach Jeff Wallace said.
Smith finished with 43 yards on 17 carries for the Indians, and Jacob Hess completed 10 of 13 passes for 99 yards. Gage Stagner and Keith Roderick had four catches apiece.
“We’ve got a lot of young’uns running around out there because of some injuries,” Wallace said. “I’m happy with how the young kids played. We were able to go down and get a score, and it was important to get guys some time but move the game along in the second half.”