It took just one mistake to make things turn for the worse Blue Springs.
Down 7-0 to Staley, a 47-yard run by running back Tresten Spruell and a 3-yard run from Dylan Cowling set the Wildcats up at the Falcon 1-yard line. On the next play, Cowling leaped over his offensive line and outstretched his arms in an attempt to get the ball over the goal line.
He didn’t quite break the plane, and a horde of Staley defenders knocked the ball loose and it was recovered by Micah Daniels. The Falcons scored on the next possession, causing a 14-point swing, sending Wildcats into a downward spiral in a 35-0 loss on the road in the season opener.
“Going against a really good Staley team, I knew we couldn’t make many mistakes,” Blue Springs head coach Kelly Donohoe said. “We did, though. But hats off to Staley. They are one of the best teams in the state. They have a chance to do something really special in Class 5. We just need to learn from our mistakes.”
That was one of four turnovers for the young Wildcats. After the Falcons gained possession at the Wildcat 1, the Falcons got first down. Then Faizol Bouchard, whose 149 yards on 10 carries paced his team, broke a 89-yard when broke a tackle and got behind the entire Blue Springs defense within 5 seconds of the play starting, making it 14-0 at the 8:56 mark in the second quarter.
“We thought he got in and (the referees) said he didn’t,” Donohoe said. “Instead of a 7-7 ballgame, it’s 14-0 a little later.”
A blocked punt set up Staley for first touchdown. Punter Nathan Stewart bobbled the snap and his punt was swatted backward by a Falcon defender and recovered by Eli Ross. Two plays later, Joe Eller pounded it up the middle from one yard out for the Falcons’ first score with 2:19 left in the first.
Blue Springs had the ball in Staley territory during its first three possessions, but couldn’t manage a score.
“The disappointing thing was we had really good field position early in the game and couldn’t take advantage of it,” Donohoe said. “That hurt.”
The front seven for the Falcons had a lot to do with that, as they consistently pressure Cowling and sacked him three times. The Wildcats had a total of just 210 yards on offense.
“Blue Springs has a pretty young line, but they’re going to get better,” Staley head coach Fred Bouchard said. “They will get more experience and will get going. Our defense set the tone. When you have the experience we have with our defense, you have a fighting chance.”
Staley put Blue Springs in a huge hole at halftime, scoring two more touchdowns on a 34-yard pass from Michael Kilpatrick to running back Joe Eller, who had 1-on-1 coverage against a linebacker, and Julian Ross’ 4-yard jaunt, making it 28-0.
Kilpatrick, who was 7-for-8 with 79 yards and two scores, connected with Beau Baker on a 10-yard fade route nearly three minutes into the third to put the game on ice.
Donohoe, whose team was on the receiving end of its most lopsided loss since 2008 (a 48-0 loss to Rockhurst), isn’t about to hit the panic button. After the game, he told his team that it could beat Fort Osage next Friday, and that it was better than what it showed at Staley.
“We expect to rebound from this,” Donohoe said. “We need strong character guys to shake this off. We’ve had moments were we had really bad games like this and were able to bounce back. That’s what our guys need to understand.”