After an uninspired first half of play at Lee’s Summit North High School Friday night, the Blue Springs Wildcats turned it up a notch in the third quarter.
The result was a 31-13 Suburban Big Six victory for the Wildcats in the regular-season finale. The win gave Blue Springs a share of the Big Six title with Raymore-Peculiar at 4-1.
“Every time we come over here, we face a scrappy team that gives us everything they have,” said Wildcats coach Kelly Donohoe, whose team has won the last two Class 6 state championships.
“We weren’t that bad in the first half – we scored on two of three possessions – but we were lackadaisical at times and, well, it’s one of those games where the kids see we’re playing a 1-7 team, then they come over here and realize they better start playing some football because those kids on North aren’t going to just roll over because we’re Blue Springs High School.”
After a scoreless first quarter, Cobi Bissell scored on a 4-yard run to give the Wildcats a 7-0 lead, but North quickly answered as Nathan Webb hit Ryan Martinez on a 37-yard pass play.
With 4:48 left in the half, Ian Brown hooked up with Terrance Sanders on a 35-yard touchdown play to help Blue Springs take a 14-7 lead into halftime.
The second half belonged to the Wildcats as Bissell ran for 59-yard touchdown and Brown scored from the 1-yard line. A 27-yard Benjamin Hellon field goal accounted for the final score. North scored with no time on the clock when Martinez ran for a 31-yard score.
Following Bissell’s 59-yard run, a familiar voice said, “It’s about time I saw you break a long one.”
Bissell looked up from the bench and saw former teammate and two-time Simone Award winning running back Dalvin Warmack, a redshirt freshman at Kansas State.
“It was great seeing Dalvin,” said Bissell, who finished the night with 31 carries for 234 yards and two touchdowns. “I’m glad I was able to break a long one for him. I saw him do it enough times, now he gets to see me.”
As Bissell took the wraps off his hands, the word TEAM was written along the back of his hand.
“Team, that’s what it’s all about,” the senior leader said. “We played like a team tonight, especially the second half. Now is the time we have to play our best football.”
The win gives the Wildcats a 6-3 record going into next week’s district play following last year’s remarkable undefeated run to a second straight state championship. The Wildcats finished third in the district points standings and will host Lee’s Summit West in a rematch in the Class 6 District 4 opener on Oct. 24.
“We’ve had our ups and downs this season,” Bissell said, “but we’re on an upward swing right now. We beat Lee’s Summit West (the defending Class 5 state champion last year who moved up to Class 6 this season) last week and we finished strong tonight against North.
“We’re all excited about the playoffs and can’t wait for next Friday.”
Following a loss to Raymore-Peculiar two weeks ago, Donohoe made several changes, including the addition of all-world defensive tackles Khalil and Carlos Davis to the offensive line.
Khalil caught a 33-yard over-the-shoulder reception and harassed Webb all night.
“Tonight, all we wanted to do was get better than we were last week,” Carlos said, “and I think we did, especially in the second half.”
Added Khalil: “We’re going to be fine. We’ve had some tough losses, and now is the time to start playing our best football, and that’s what you’re going to see next week.”