Caleb Marquez, the bruising fullback/tight end/linebacker, has some advice for future Blue Springs High School opponents.
Don’t wake a sleeping Wildcat.
With the Wildcats leading 22-0 at the half, visiting Jefferson City scored on a quick three-play drive to open the third quarter.
Quarterback Devin Roberson hit Davion Evans on a quick slant to the back of the end zone just 1:05 into the period. A two-point pass to Evans made it 22-8 and gave the Jays a renewed spirit.
The Jays then picked up a Blue Springs fumble, but Wildcats defensive back Ramond Brown picked off a Roberson pass, setting up a 9-yard touchdown run by Aveion Bailey to make it 29-8.
The rest of the second half belonged to the 8-2 Wildcats, who ran away with a 46-23 victory.
“When they scored that touchdown it really made us mad, and you saw what we did when we were playing mad,” said Marquez, who had three tackles behind the line of scrimmage, caught 3-yard and 14-yard touchdown passes from Chase Donohoe and blocked all night for Aveion Bailey, who finished with 200 yards and three touchdowns on the ground.
“We were up 22-0 and they score on the first series, and it was like it woke us up,” Marquez added. “After they scored, we didn’t want to let them do anything offensively or defensively the rest of the game.”
The Jays had just 59 total yards of offense in the first half and finished with 398 – but most of those yards came when coach Kelly Donohoe pulled his starters in the fourth quarter to keep starters healthy.
“We played well against a very good Jeff City team,” Dohonoe said after the Class 6 District 3 opening-round victory. “When we saw we drew Jeff City in the playoffs, we were like, ‘Oh geez, we better come ready to play.’ Forget about their 3-6 record – they play a tough schedule and are a great team and program.
“I think the guys were disappointed when we gave up that touchdown in the third period and we responded. It was a kind of up and down game, but overall, I was happy with how we played.”
Wildcats quarterback Chase Donohoe also had a big game, hitting Tre’ Wheaton on a 51-yard slant play at 11:12 of the first quarter to give the Wildcats a quick 8-0 lead. Marquez bulled his way into the end zone for a two-point conversion.
Bailey then romped 64 yards to the Jeff City 1-yard line. He lost 2 yards on the next play, but Donohoe hit Marquez for a 3-yard score.
“If I get one-on-one coverage in the red zone, I know Chase is going to look my way,” said Marquez, who towered over his defender.
Donohoe later found Marquez for a 14-yard touchdown strike to give the Wildcats the 22-0 halftime lead.
“We’re still looking to play our best game,” said Chase, who was 10 of 15 passing for 150 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. “With Tre’, Caleb and Aveion, we have a lot of offensive weapons.”
Added Wheaton: “We have so many ways to score. They’re working me more into the offense and we have a great running game.”
And some pretty good defensive weapons, too.
Azaiah Bello had a second-half interception that set up a 73-yard touchdown run by Nick Wood and linemen Khristian Boyd and Daniel Parker each had a sack and five tackles behind the line of scrimmage.
“We’re a family out there, and we want to keep playing football,” Boyd said. “We want to step it up every game, and not give our opponent a chance to get back in the game.”
Added Parker: “It’s time to step up and play our best football. We were all mad when they scored in the third period. But overall, I think we played a strong defensive game. But as the playoffs go on, we have to play better every game.”
Bailey scored on runs of 3 and 22 yards in the second half and Sam Knowlton booted a 37-yard field goal to complete the scoring.