All season long Blue Springs head coach Kelly Donohoe has been waiting for his team to put together a complete game, four strong quarters on both sides of the ball.
Friday night against crosstown rival Blue Springs South was a good time for that game.
Blue Springs was in control from the start and rolled to a 38-14 Suburban Big Six victory to improve to 3-2 overall and 1-1 in the conference.
“We’ve been so sporadic all season,” Donohoe said. “It’s nice to put a full game together. This week was the best week (of practice) we’ve had all year. It means a lot to see it pay off.”
There’s the old saying when two rivals meet – “throw the records out the window” – and the Wildcats took heed of that adage. Despite South’s 0-4 record and a laundry list of injuries, which got even longer after Friday night’s game, there was no taking the Jaguars lightly.
“All week we talked about setting the tone in the beginning of the game,” said running back Aveion Bailey, who finished with 135 yards and three touchdowns on 17 carries. “It’s been taking us a while to start this season, but we came out strong. We treated them like they were 4-0.”
Bailey was the workhorse early on, making his mark with some powerful runs that were gaining big chunks of yardage. By the end of the first quarter, he had found the end zone twice from 12 and 14 yards out, respectively.
While the offensive line opened up plenty of holes for the run game, as they finished with 380 rushing yards as a team, even when there may not have been as much running room, Bailey was shedding Jaguar tacklers left and right.
“They beat us up front and that running back, how many tackles did he (Bailey) make us miss?” Jaguars head coach Jon Oyler said. “They moved the line of scrimmage.”
Donohoe echoed his counterpart’s thoughts.
“We wanted to go after it a little bit,” he said. “The kids played exceptionally well up front. Aveion had a great night. We jumped out on fire and that really helped.”
South got on the board early in the second quarter on a Nahshon Rick 1-yard touchdown run to make it 14-7, who was filling in for Dakoda Kenig after he went down with an injury late in the first quarter. Blue Springs' Fredy Romero added a 34-yard field goal to make it 17-7, and just before halftime, Bailey found the end zone one more time from 4 yards out to make it 24-7 at the half.
The Jaguars had one more shot to make things interesting to start the second half after a Luke Fellers interception. The offense drove down the field, but stalled on the Wildcat 5-yard line when they failed to convert on fourth-and-one.
Three plays later, Nick Wood scampered 76 yards down the sideline for a touchdown and a 31-7 lead.
“That was the sequence of the game,” Donohoe said. “It was a great stop by the defense and Nick ran it really well.”
Added Bailey: “Coach kept saying to not let our foot off the gas pedal. We just kept going.”
Instead of a potential South score and a 24-14 deficit, Wood’s touchdown put the game well out of reach.
“We had a couple of opportunities,” Oyler said. “Anytime we got some momentum we’d get shut down in the red zone.”
That seems to be the way the season has gone for the Jaguars, as they will look for their first win next Friday night when they host William Chrisman.
“We have to keep getting better,” Oyler said. “We have to do a better job getting off blocks, executing in the red zone, tackling. That’s the game of football. Every week we have to try and improve.”
Meanwhile, Blue Springs has now won back-to-back games for the first time this season and will look to make it three straight when they travel to Raymore-Peculiar next Friday. The wild win last week against Lee’s Summit as time expired might end up being the momentum boost they needed.
“That gave everyone confidence,” Bailey said of the win. “From the O-line to the defensive backs, everyone is focused. We’re getting better and better.”