Sometimes, one game can sum up a whole season. Blue Springs coach Kelly Donohoe had to feel that way Friday night.
Blue Springs has endured injuries and other setbacks, enough to make this one of Donohoe’s more challenging seasons. On this night, Blue Springs survived the setbacks, the bad breaks and gutted out a wild 24-20 Suburban Big Six victory over Lee’s Summit West at Peve Stadium.
“It’s been all year long,” Donohoe said. “We told our guys this year our margin of error is small, we’re going to have to win close games because everyone we play is good. It’s crazy week to week.”
Blue Springs (5-3, 2-2 Big Six) survived with a grind-it-out offense that churned out clock-eating drives. And when the Wildcats needed to stop Lee’s Summit West’s equally potent offense late in the game, the defense came through.
The Wildcats fumbled the ball deep in West territory on the first play of the second half, but that only led to a Titans missed field goal. A short punt then placed the Titans in Wildcat territory, but they turned it over on downs.
This all happened as Blue Springs clung to a 17-14 lead. The Wildcats made it 24-14 when quarterback Dom Harkness found Xavier Loyd wide open in the end zone for a 25-yard touchdown pass, his second of the game. That capped a 17-play drive that started with 7:10 to play in the third quarter and ended with 32 seconds left.
“Our guy was down and then they give them the football,” Donohoe said of the third-quarter fumble. “You turn around and you go, are we ever going to get a break? And then our guy rips a ball out at the very end.”
That would be Brent LaVar, who punched the ball out of the hands of Titans receiver Trevor Kardell, who made a catch on fourth-and-18 that would have put the Titans at midfield with 2 minutes to play. Lee’s Summit West (4-4, 1-3) cut Blue Springs’ lead to 24-20 early in the fourth quarter, but Wildcats punter Fredy Romero pinned the Titans back on their 5-yard line with a 56-yard punt, and linebacker Danny Wheeler buried Titans quarterback Sammy Cooper with a 9-yard sack.
“We just had a sack call for me to go ahead and pull the trigger,” Wheeler said. “I just knew I had to be relentless.”
Blue Springs was relentless on the ground as it churned out 201 rushing yards. Running back Quentin Fontenot did most of the work, gaining 148 yards on 33 carries with one touchdown.
But Lee’s Summit West, which had 311 total yards to Blue Springs’ 298, was equally relentless. After taking the opening kickoff, the Titans marched 80 yards on 16 plays and scored on a 2-yard run by Cooper.
Blue Springs answered with a 13-play, 80-yard drive on its first possession which ended with a 6-yard Fontenot TD run. Another 13-play drive took up much of the second quarter, and it ended with a 29-yard Romero field goal after a holding call negated a touchdown.
“It was the best we’ve done all year of just holding on to that football, taking chunks off the clock,” Donohoe said. “We’re getting better and better every week as a team and that’s got me pretty excited.”
Cooper, who threw for 119 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 75 yards and another TD, found Colby Baggett wide open in the end zone for a 13-yard TD pass that put Lee’s Summit West up 14-10 late in the second quarter. Blue Springs put together a 70-yard drive on its next possession and regained the lead with a 16-yard TD pass from Harkness to Cooper Willich 10 seconds before halftime.
Harkness’ second TD pass put the Wildcats up 10, and Cooper made it a 24-20 game with a 3-yard shovel pass to Jackson Surratt. The extra point was blocked.
And then the Wildcats survived.
“That’s been our story throughout the season,” Harkness said. “We’ve had to go through a lot, we’ve had to overcome a lot of adversity. But all this adversity that keeps coming our way, we keep bouncing back.”