Kelly Donohoe kept a special promise Friday night as his Blue Springs High School football team blanked Jefferson City 36-0 in the opening round of Class 6 District 2 district action at Peve Stadium.
With the Wildcats leading 7-0 early in the second quarter, he called out “Conrad Iso” – a play all-state offensive lineman Conrad Rowley had been anticipating all year.
Rowley’s mother Kiers recently died of cancer, and she had a special conversation with Donohoe before her passing.
“Kiers always wanted to see big ol’ Conrad score a touchdown,” Donohoe said, “and I promised I’d get him one this season.”
So, with the ball on the 5, Rowley entered the game and took an unfamiliar place in the backfield.
“I’m used to being on the line, blocking for Aveion (Bailey) and our other backs, but I got kind of excited when Coach called my play,” Rowley explained, as he was joined by other members of the offensive line on the field.
“I thought it was going to be from the 1 so I could just kind of dive in, but Coach called it from the 5, so I needed help — some guys pushing my big ol’ butt in the end zone, and we got it done.”
And it was hard to tell who enjoyed the play more – Donohoe, Conrad or his family.
“I know Kiers saw it, and she is up there smiling,” Donohoe said, smiling. “She was a special lady, and she and (her husband) Steve have done a great job raising Conrad.”
Steve Rowley, who hosted a family meal before the game, added, “That was for Kiers. Kelly visited her in the hospital and promised her he’d get Conrad in the end zone, and he always keeps his promise.”
As Conrad talked about the score, his buddy and offensive line teammate Jack Johnson joined the conversation.
“We’re happy for him,” Johnson said, “because that was for his mom.”
Earlier in the night, when a Jefferson City defensive player struck Rowley from behind, Johnson quickly came to his defense.
“That’s what we call O-line brotherhood,” Rowley said. “I wasn’t going to do anything stupid like swing at the kid. My brothers were there to defend me.”
And pick him up as the Jeff City player was escorted out of the sports complex after his ejection.
It was a near perfect night for the Wildcats as Patso Tapusoa grabbed a 10-yard touchdown pass from Koby Mansfield. Rowley scored from the 5, Mansfield scored from the 1, Dominick Harkness scored from the 1 and Quentin Fontenot capped a nine-carry, 119-yard night with a 28-yard touchdown run.
“We wanted to play some guys, and the way the game went, it afforded us that opportunity,” Donohoe said.
The Wildcats also had three interceptions and three sacks.
“A good night all the way around,” Donohoe said. “Now, we get another home game and the guys are excited about that.”
With Blue Springs South’s 35-14 victory over Troy Buchanan, the crosstown rivals meet next Friday at Peve Stadium.
“I thought the guys might be excited to take a charter bus to Troy Buchanan, but they were all excited to play South again,” Donohoe said. “It’s a good rivalry and Jon (Oyler’s) kids are playing well now. It should be a lot of fun, with a great atmosphere here next Friday.”