Interceptions thwart possible Jaguar comeback against Rockhurst

Hawklets return two of five interceptions for touchdowns to pull away from South for a 36-14 win

By Bill Althaus
Rockhurst coach Kelly Donohoe (in mask), the former longtime Blue Springs coach, addresses his team following Friday's 36-14 win over Blue Springs South.

Rockhurst coach Kelly Donohoe paid coach Matt Klein’s Blue Springs South football team the ultimate compliment, although it’s one no coach ever wants to receive.

“That’s the best 0-4 team in the state of Missouri,” Donohoe said after his 2-2 Hawklets used five interceptions – including two picks that resulted in 14 points – to claim a 36-14 victory over the Jaguars Friday night at Dasta Stadium on the Rockhurst campus.

“Coach Klein is doing a great job with that football program and they’re going to win a lot of games this season. We’ve had trouble with turnovers this season, so it’s about time we won that turnover battle.

“I can’t say enough good things about our guys. Our defense came up big, especially on those two pick-sixes, and Bobby Hummel came in and did a great job while our starting quarterback, Luke Bailey, is out with an injury.

“We haven’t gotten off to the start we’d hoped for, and we needed a big win tonight. And the guys went out and got it.”

The lone score of the first quarter came when Carter Graham picked off Luke Fellers and returned the ball 76 yards to put the Hawklets ahead 6-0, as the extra point failed.

Rockhurst padded its lead when Hummel hit Johnny Pascuzzi for a 41-yard score at 8:13. Cashius Howell scored on the 2-point conversion to make it 14-0.

South had plenty of gas left in its tank, though, as Fellers connected with Qaryan Lanier on a 25-yard touchdown pass at the 5:43 mark to cut the deficit to 14-7.

The Hawklets then used a 56-yard pass to John Gyllenborg to set up a 5-yard touchdown run by Hummel in the closing seconds of the half, as Rockhurst took a 21-7 lead into the locker room.

South recovered an onsides kick on the Hawklets’ 48 yard line to open the second half, but Daly Steinhuaser picked off Fellers, which led to a 73-yard touchdown run by Howell.

Two more South drives were stalled by interceptions, but Fellers and Isaiah Frost connected on a 5-yard touchdown pass to pull the Jaguars within 28-14 midway through the fourth quarter.

Ryan Wilkerson’s 43-yard interception return accounted for the final score.

“When you play a good team like Rockhurst, you can’t give them 14 points,” Klein said after visiting with his team in the east end zone following the game. “Our kids played hard. They did all we asked of them as coaches, but we have to eliminate mistakes because they came back to hurt us. But our guys battled their butts off and I’m so proud of them for that.”

Hummel finished the game completing 11 of 17 passes for 117 yards and one score. Howell carried the ball 13 times for 174 yards and a score.

Despite the five interceptions, Feller had a strong performance otherwise, completing 17 of 34 passes for 215 yards and two touchdowns.

Fellers also led the Jaguars in rushing with 21 carries for 83 yards.

At halftime, Rockurst honored former boys basketball coach Mark Bubalo, who left the Hawklets to coach girls basketball at Blue Springs South. He became South’s activities director and just retired as the Blue Springs School District activities director.