Kelly Donohoe, who has developed a prep football juggernaut at Blue Springs High School, was pleased with his Wildcats' overall effort Friday night at William Jewell College as they scrimmaged against Lee's Summit West, Raytown South and Liberty North in a jamboree.
The Wildcats’ defense allowed just one touchdown – in the opening scrimmage against host Liberty North – while the offense scored a touchdown on a 4-yard pass from Chase Donohoe to Jon Rone against Lee's Summit West.
Cornerback Mason Dunn, a vocal leader throughout the night for the defense, had a fumble recovery against North and prevented a long touchdown pass when he batted the ball away against a Cardinal wide receiver. The new-look defensive line featured a couple of tough newcomers in sophomore Khristian Boyd and senior Adam Van Hoecke (who missed last season when he tore his ACL in preseason practice), both of whom had sacks and spent much of the night in their opponents' backfield.
Following the scrimmage, the Wildcats lined up for extra point and field goal practice.
“We cut our teeth tonight, played under the lights, kept healthy and didn't make a mistake that isn't correctable,” Kelly Donohoe said. “It was good for the team, especially the new guys, to pack their gear, get a pre-game meal, get on the bus and travel – because we're traveling to a hostile environment next Friday (Staley High School for the season opener) – and it all went well. I'm happy. They did OK tonight.”
So did his two quarterbacks – his son Chase and starter Dylan Cowling.
“They did just fine,” the veteran coach said. “They both got some snaps and did some good things.”
Cowling had the longest pass of the scrimmage, a 35-yard strike to Tyree King. The Wildcats' longest run came from Tresten Spruell, a 22-yard effort. The Wildcats’ initial first down came on an 11-yard run by Jaylen Ivey.
“This was a lot of fun,” said Chase Donohoe, a sophomore who has been on the sidelines with his dad since he was in second grade. “It's a lot different being a ball boy and being a player on the team. Sharing something like this with my dad is really special. I think we're going to be a good team this season.”
So does Cowling, a junior who added: “This is a jamboree, it wasn't a game, but it was a game-like atmosphere. We played under the lights and played against three different teams, which is a lot different than practicing against your teammates.
“I thought Chase did a nice job tonight. We have been friends for a long, long time and both of us playing the same position isn't going to affect our friendship. We're always going to be great friends and support each other. Chase is pushing me every day at practice and that's just going to make each one of us better. And that's going to make the team better.”
Rone, who caught the touchdown pass from Donohoe, praised both quarterbacks.
“Chase and Dylan were great,” Rone said. “They're both new because we had Ian (Brown) the last two years. I think we're going to be so much better than people think. I think we're going to surprise some people.”
So does Van Hoecke, who wants to make the most of his senior season after missing all of last season with the ACL injury.
“I want to be on a winning team, a great Wildcats team, and I think we're going to be pretty good this year,” Van Hoecke said. “Nothing really surprised me tonight because we did well offensively and defensively. I was really happy with the way the defense played tonight. We put a lot of pressure on all the quarterbacks we faced.”
∞ Royce Boehm, who has enjoyed so much success at Lee's Summit West High School as the only head coach in the Titans' history, was also pleased with how his young team performed.
“It's kind of funny because Kelly and I are kind of in the same situation,” Boehm said of his longtime friend and coaching rival. “We've got a lot of new kids, and right now, we're still evaluating our teams and trying to find the right pieces to the puzzle. And that's kind of exciting. We've both been used to playing with veteran players the past couple of years and it's kind of exciting to have new kids, trying to figure out what they do best, and see what happens once the season starts. But like Kelly, we played it vanilla tonight. We weren't going to show much.”