It’s hard to imagine a Blue Springs High School football team without senior wide receiver Tyree King, who leads the Wildcats in receptions (42), yards (526) and touchdowns (5).
But it nearly happened.
“Yeah, Tyree thought about stepping away from football this past summer,” Blue Springs coach Kelly Donohoe said before a recent practice session at Peve Stadium. “We heard that Tyree was thinking about concentrating on basketball, because, you know, he’s a great basketball player.
“So we talked to him this summer. I just told him to take some time to think about it, and just stay away from everything for a couple of weeks and see how he felt.”
King took his coach’s advice, and soon found that game was calling his name.
“Yeah, I talked to a few guys and it got back to coach, and we had a good talk,” said King, one of the premier basketball players in the metro area who has become the premier wide receiver in Eastern Jackson County.
In fact, the photo of King on the Blue Springs football website, shows him in his Wildcats basketball uniform.
“He told me it was my decision,” King said, “and I appreciated that. He was really great, he didn’t pressure me at all. I stayed away and really missed it, so now, I’m back.”
And his teammates couldn’t be happier, even though a few might give him a hard time about his brief summer absence.
When King was doing a pre-practice interview, a booming voice came from the practice field.
“Tyree King! You doing an interview?” called out junior offensive lineman Daniel Parker Jr., one of the most highly recruited football players in the state. “You don’t even like football.”
Both players laughed.
“We’re like brothers on this team, we’re so close,” King said. “And brothers can say things like that. He’s just kidding – I know that. We all care about each other, and I think that’s why we’ve had such a great season.”
The 10-2 Wildcats meet Christian Brothers College High School at 7 tonight on the Cadets’ home field outside of St. Louis in a Class 6 state semifinal game. Blue Springs has scored 154 points in three postseason wins without a starter in the backfield.
Dylan Cowling has replaced Chase Donohoe at quarterback and Michael Warmack has taken over for Jaylen Ivey, who was hobbled by a high ankle sprain. Ivey is expected to play a much larger offensive role in tonight’s game.
However, the rock-solid offensive line was intact and fullback Caleb Marquez, right end Tanner Taula and wide receivers Tre Wheaton and King raised their level of play to new highs.
“We were missing some key players, but everyone else rose to the occasion,” senior center Spencer Johnson said. “We’ve done it all season. Everyone is playing the best football of the season and we want to keep playing all the way to the state championship game.”
Cowling agrees with his teammate.
“We have an amazing group of offensive threats on this team,” Cowling said. “The line, our backs, guys like Tyree – they all make my job easy. They take care of me and I have so much faith in them.”
As he reflects on this remarkable season, King just smiles.
“I think, deep down inside, I always knew I was going to play,” King said. “I know I made the right decision because I’m having so much fun, we’re all having fun, and winning a lot of games.”