Friday night under the lights began with one of those rare games at William Chrisman High School where both coaches walked off the field feeling good about their respective clubs.
Blue Springs coach Kelly Donohoe, running a vanilla offense with his Wildcats playing host to longtime rival Rockhurst next Friday at Peve Stadium, saw many good things in his team’s 37-13 victory over the host Bears.
While Chrisman coach Matthew Perry watched his team turn in a valiant effort against one of the most storied programs in the state.
Blue Springs’ first-year starter Dom Harkness turned in a solid performance at quarterback, throwing three touchdown passes while completing 8 of 15 attempts for 115 yards.
Running backs Micah King (8 carries for 98 yards) and DeAndre Thomas (17 for 90 yards) complemented Harkness’ strong arm, and the starting defensive unit for the Wildcats did not allow a touchdown.
“That is a very good, well coached Chrisman team that is going to give a lot of teams trouble this year,” Donohoe said. “We made some mistakes, but nothing that we can’t clean up. Dom got his first start and did a nice job and our No. 1 defensive guys really played well.
“Now, we get to work for Rockhurst.”
Harkness and all-state offensive lineman Beau Stephens were both happy to get out of Chrisman with a win and without any major injuries.
“We got a win, and that’s what we came over here to do,” Stephens said. “We have a lot of things to improve on, and that’s what we’ll work on this week. And you know Coach Donohoe and his coaches are going to get us ready for Rockhurst.”
Harkness, who was sidelined much of last season with a leg injury, said he is happy to get a varsity win before next week’s home opener against the Hawklets.
“Friday nights are a lot different than playing on Mondays,” quipped Harkness, as Stephens nodded in approval. “This was my first varsity start, and it just felt awesome to help our team get a win.”
Harkness had touchdown throws of 4 and 14 yards to Stef Black and 68 yards to Cooper Willich. King added a 20-yard touchdown run, Thomas scored from the 3 and Fredy Romero booted a 24-yard field goal.
Marcus Wigfall gave the vocal Bears home crowd something to cheer about as he took Chrisman’s opening kickoff to the house for a 100-yard touchdown return.
“That was my first varsity touchdown,” Wigfall said, “and it was special to do it at home in front of a big crowd.”
Bears junior quarterback Osi Nauer scored on a 1-yard run, picked off a Harkness pass and finished with 11 yards rushing on 23 carries.
“Osi is a gamer, and I was proud of our effort in the game and our attitude heading into the opener,” Perry said. “This is a young team and there were a lot of unknowns.
“Kelly has a great program and great players and our guys went out and played hard. We’re going to have a good season if we keep playing like we played tonight.”