A team that has enough stars to fill any galaxy discovered a bright, shining nova Friday night at Lee’s Summit High School as Blue Springs routed the Tigers 43-7 to open the season.
The Wildcats already have an abundance of talent in the backfield with quarterback Chase Donohoe and running backs Michael Warmack, Nick Wood, Jaylen Ivey and Aveion Bailey, but Friday night newcomer Cade Musser grabbed the spotlight and stood center stage with his new teammates.
“Cade was the man tonight,” said Warmack, who ran for two touchdowns and a 2-point conversion. “He fits in so well with this team. We’re all really tight, we’re a team. We just want to win, and we were able to start the season with a big win and Cade was right in the middle of everything.”
Musser, who moved to Blue Springs after earning all-state honors at St. Joseph Central High School last year, also ran for two scores and had a catch for 19 yards.
“It’s so special to be a part of a team like Blue Springs,” said Musser, who has been hampered in recent practice sessions with a pulled hamstring. “I’m only about 75 percent right now, but with all the other talent we have, I just want to go out and contribute.”
Warmack (110) and Musser (87) combined for 197 rushing yards, despite the fact that they saw few carries in the second half after the Wildcats built up a 29-0 halftime lead.
“Cade Musser is a special young man,” Wildcats coach Kelly Donohoe said. “He scored a 33 on his ACT and he fits in so well with the rest of the guys. And even though he’s a newcomer, you can see his leadership traits come through.”
It looked like Nick Hessefort was going to give Blue Springs a 7-0 lead on the opening kickoff, but his 96-yard return was called back because of a holding penalty.
Warmack then capped an eight-play, 65-yard drive with a 2-yard run and the 2-point conversion.
“We just did that 2-point conversion to make a statement early in the game,” Donohoe said. “We have a great kicker, and Sam Knowlton kicked the rest of our extra points.”
Musser scored his first touchdown as a Wildcat on a 2-yard run early in the second quarter and followed it with a 32-yard run on a jet sweep to make it 22-0 at the 8:52 mark.
Chase Donohoe, returning after breaking his foot last season, then hit Tre’ Wheaton on a perfectly thrown 60-yard strike to make it 29-0 at halftime.
“That felt so good,” Chase Donohoe said. “Tre’ and I spent a lot of hours working this summer and I really wanted to get him a pass like that. I just threw it and he did the rest.”
The sizzling Wildcats came out of the half on fire as Warmack scored on a 10-yard run to make it 36-0. That touchdown led to a short-lived mercy clock as the Tigers avoided a shutout when Kaleb Herbel scored on a 2-yard run at 3:26 of the third quarter.
Wood scored the Wildcats’ final touchdown on a 7-yard run at 4:42 of the fourth quarter as the state’s No. 1-ranked team started the season dominating every phase of the game.
“That’s a very good Lee’s Summit team and Eric (Thomas, head coach) always has his guys ready to go,” Donohoe said. “We got a little greedy at the start of the third period and made some mistakes that are very correctable.
“Overall, I thought we did well offensively, defensively and on special teams – and you have to do that to have success in the (Suburban) Big Seven (conference). I was happy with the way Chase ran the offense. He made a mistake or two, but it’s his first game back. I’m happy with the way all the guys played tonight.”
Chase Donohoe finished the night completing 9 of 13 passes for 120 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
On defense, Daniel Parker and Khristian Boyd dominated the defensive line.
Parker was especially outstanding as he played on most offensive and defensive plays and finished with six tackles, a sack and fumble recovery.
“I’m tired, but happy – very, very happy,” Parker said. “With our backs and Chase, all you have to do is make a block and they’re going to make something happen. And the defense was really getting after it tonight.
“This was a great way to start the season.”