SHAWNEE MISSION, Kan. – The Blue Springs High School football team found itself in familiar territory at halftime of their 35-21 victory over Shawnee Mission West Friday night.
They were trailing – 21-14 this time – at the Shawnee Mission South District Stadium.
“I think we’ve been down at the half of every game we’ve played this season,” said quarterback Chase Donohoe, who rallied the Wildcats in the second half by executing a near flawless game plan for 21 points while the defense shut out its opponent in the second half for the second week in a row.
Last week, Blue Springs trailed Park Hill 18-0 before outscoring the Trojans 42-7 in a 42-25 victory.
“We go into the half, we talk about what we need to do offensively, because all the guys on offense know that the defense will take care of things,” Chase Donohoe added after the Wildcats improved to 4-1 overall. “They’ve done it all season in the second half, and they did it again tonight.”
The game marked the return of junior running back Jaylen Ivey, who scored seven touchdowns in Week 1 and was then suspended for two games following an altercation late in a win over Lee’s Summit West in Week 2.
He rushed for a game-high 186 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries Friday, but he had to sit out the fourth quarter because of allergy problems he has been dealing with all week.
Sophomore tailback Nick Wood, who was so effective in last week’s win over Park Hill, entered the game and rushed for 92 yards on just 10 carries, including a game-breaking 47-yard touchdown at 10:10 of the fourth quarter that gave the Wildcats a 35-21 lead.
“First off, I want to say how happy I am to be back with my team,” said Ivey, who scored on a 2-yard run at 2:54 of the third quarter to give the Wildcats a 28-21 lead. “It was tough missing the last two games, and I am thrilled to be back and contributing to a win.
“Tonight, Nick was Nick, he did what he does best – help us eat up yards and use the clock. I love watching him run because he always finds a way to get yardage and he holds the ball with two hands. He never fumbles, and that’s big.”
Wood has been pushed into duty because of injuries to Michael Warmack and Aveion Bailey, who watched the game from the sidelines.
“I’m just happy to get into a game when I get the chance,” Wood said. “Tonight, the line did a great job. And on my touchdown, Joey Janes threw a big block. I don’t score without his block.”
While the offense put the points on the scoreboard – which was not operating for much of the first quarter – the defense rallied and kept the Vikings out of the end zone in the second half.
Damian Thomas and Azaiah Bello came up with big interceptions in the closing minutes of the game to quell Viking rallies.
“We knew we had to get the job done the second half, and we were able to do it,” Bello said. “We need to find a way to play an entire game like we do the second half. When we do that, teams are going to have a lot of trouble scoring on us.”
Wildcats coach Kelly Donohoe praised his team, and the opponent.
“It’s great to come over here, play someone from the other side of the state line, and get a win like this,” the coach said. “That’s a very good team, and they are going to win a lot of games.
“The defense sets the tone in big wins like this, and our defense definitely set the tone tonight. They did a great job in the second half. It was great to have Jaylen back and that Nick Wood just showed us again tonight that he is a stud.”
When asked about his son Chase’s performance – he was 7 of 12 for 106 yards and two touchdowns, along with three interceptions – Donohoe grinned.
“I guess we’ll let him sleep at home tonight,” Donohoe said, joking. “Those two touchdowns were big, and you know he’d like to have the throws back that were picked off. He did a nice job running the offense and no one panicked – they never do.”
When he heard his father’s comments, Chase grinned and added, “After that third interception I was wondering if he was going to let me ride the bus home.”
Caleb Marquez put the Wildcats on the scoreboard first with a dazzling, 33-yard broken-field run following a screen pass from Donohoe.
Tyree King opened the third period with a 41-yard touchdown run on a jet sweep. Tre Wheaton scored on a 10-yard reception from Chase Donohoe with 10:47 left in the second period for the Wildcats' other score. Tristin Williams connected on all five extra points.