It was not your typical high school soccer game – rivalry contests rarely are.
There was a red card, an official’s time out, plenty of animated discussions between fans in the Peve Stadium bleachers and some high-energy performances by each team.
The visiting Blue Springs South Jaguars topped host Blue Springs 5-1 in a Suburban Big Seven contest.
Yet, when the final whistle had blown Thursday night, Blue Springs coach Doug McLagan and his South counterpart Todd Findley could be seen at midfield visiting, while players from each team talked about the game and life in general.
South’s Taylor Gardner even got a surprise prom invitation in the stands.
“See, they’re still kids,” Findley said. “She’s probably as excited about getting asked to prom as she was scoring tonight.
“That’s what makes it so great – we’re coaching kids – and there are some great kids on each team.”
McLagan, who was flagged with a red card for “discussing” an early South goal, agreed, as a trio of South players jokingly confronted him about getting ejected in the 14th minute of the game.
“That’s probably one of your dad’s calling,” said McLagan, as a phone in his backpack began ringing, “I never –NEVER – get a red card, and I get one tonight and I think everyone in Blue Springs knows about it.”
He paused for a moment, and told the trio of players – all-state forward Nina Stine, Megan Swanson and Gardner, “Go win a conference. Represent Blue Springs well – you have a tremendous team.”
The Jaguars improved to 8-3 overall and 3-2 in conference play as freshman Brie Severns separated from a pack of defenders and found the back of the net seven minutes into the first half.
Four minutes later, Mallory Kroencke scored, but for a moment, the goal was waved off by a linesman.
“That’s where the disagreement began,” McLagan said, after his team fell to 3-6 and 0-4 in conference play. “I was discussing what happened (with the center official, who waved off the linesman) and I get a red card. No cursing, I don’t know why I got it, but I did. And I wish it would not have happened.
“Todd’s team is such a great team, I don’t want anything to deflect or take anything away from the game. I’m proud that my girls were able to hang with them and I know a lot of those (South) girls and we wish them luck the rest of the season.”
A penalty kick goal by Blue Springs’ Hannah Goddard made it 2-1 at the half, but the Jaguars dominated all phases of the game in the second half.
Abigail Carino made it 3-1 with some slick footwork and a goal. It was soon 4-1 as Stine took a pass from Swanson, the Jaguars’ goalkeeper, and fired it past Wildcat goalie Desiree Barajas.
“That was Nina’s 16th goal of the season, and she set a school record with 26 last year,” Findley said. “She’s such a great player, and a great individual, too.”
Twins Katelyn Poertner and Madi Poertner, who each missed last season with torn ACLs, combined for the final score as Katelyn slipped the ball to Madi who scored the final goal of the game with just over a minute left to play.
“This is a very special win,” Stine said, “anytime you can beat your crosstown rival it’s special. A lot went on tonight, but the most important thing is the win.”
Swanson agreed, adding, “It’s so cool every time we play Blue Springs. And it’s even cooler when we get a win like we did tonight.”
Gardner said a key to the win was never letting their foot off the accelerator after they took the early lead.
“We got the lead and we weren’t going to give it up,” Gardner said. “It was a great night of soccer.”