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Cat Clash 2020: Wildcats rally for seventh straight win over Jaguars

By Bill Althaus
bill.althaus@examiner.net
Blue Springs' Carson Willich (5) leaps with teammate Brendan Bledsoe (35) to celebrate as the final seconds tick off the clock in a 28-13 victory over Blue Springs South. It was the seventh straight win for the Wildcats in the Cat Clash series and the 20th in 30 meetings between the crosstown rivalls.

David White will never forget his first taste of Blue Springs crosstown rival football.

His Wildcats rallied from a 13-0 deficit to clip host Blue Springs South 28-13 in a Friday night thriller at Larry Stewart Memorial Stadium.

The Jaguars’ early defensive effort was reminiscent of the coach Greg Oder days when his teams would play smash-mouth football and take no survivors.

“They came out and punched us in the mouth and we had to punch right back,” White, the first-year head coach, said by phone following the game. “I’m just so proud of our guys. We made some adjustments, scored some points and got that last touchdown to seal the deal. A great night to be a Wildcat.”

Blue Springs' Carson Willich (5) celebrates a tackle for a loss with teammate T'Andre Forbush, back, in Friday's 28-13 win over rival Blue Springs South.

Five senior members of his team backed that statement, as Blue Springs has now won 20 of the 30 career Cat Clash matchups, including the last seven.

“I’m a senior and I’ve never lost to South, and it feels so good,” said tackle Beau Stephens, who provided many of the blocks for DeAndre Thomas, who scored two touchdowns – including a 3-yard run with just 1:10 left in the game.

Blue Springs South's Dylan Reed celebrates after recovering a fumble in Friday's game against Blue Springs. Despite the turnover, Blue Springs rallied for a 29-13 win.

“We all came together tonight, especially after they took that 13-0 lead. Patty (quarterback Patrick Maloney) was throwing the ball, DeAndre was running and X (Xavier Loyd) and Isaac (Harkness) were making big touchdown catches.

“Nothing feels better during the regular season than walking off the field with a win against your biggest rival.”

Harkness, who caught a 22-yard touchdown to make it 21-13 game late in the second quarter, agreed.

Blue Springs receiver Isaac Harkness (9) points to the sky after scoring a second quarter touchdown Friday. Blue Springs rallied from a 13-0 deficit to claim a 28-13 win.

“I’ve dreamed about this game, and my dreams came true tonight,” said Harkness, who pointed to the heavens following his score, as he has dedicated this season to a late friend and former teammate. “We got down early and I think that just made us want it all the more. We won tonight as a team – everyone contributed and this is a night none of us will ever forget.”

Maloney added his name to the book of Cat Clash lore with a sensational night, completing 17 of 21 passes for 271 yards and three touchdowns.

Blue Springs quarterback Patrick Maloney (17) scrambles for extra yardage in Friday's game at Blue Springs South. Maloney did more damage with his arm, completing 17 of 21 passes for 271 yard and three touchdowns to lead the Wildcats to a 28-13 come-from-behind win.

“All you need to say is Cat Clash and that tells you how big this game is,” Maloney said. “It’s so cool that we could win this one for Coach White in his first game against South and cool that all the seniors could walk off the field knowing we never lost to South.”

The most electric play of the game came on an 84-yard touchdown pass from Maloney to Xavier Loyd.

“That touchdown came after a penalty cost us a 67-yard touchdown, so we thought, ‘We lost a 67-yard touchdown, let’s go get an 84 yarder,’” quipped Maloney, “and we did.”

Blue Springs receiver Xavier Loyd (13) dashes past Blue Springs South's Alex Israelite (2) for a long touchdown in the Wildcats' 28-13 win Friday.

Loyd said he knew he would hit the end zone after catching the ball.

“It just all opened up after I caught the ball – no one was in front of me – and all I had to do was outrun some defenders,” Loyd said. “Patrick had an amazing night. It was an amazing night for all of us.’

Thomas scored on a 13-yard reception and the game-clinching 3-yard run late in the game.

Blue Springs running back DeAndre Thomas punches in a final touchdown late in the fourth quarter to seal the Wildcats' 28-13 win over rival Blue Springs South Friday.

“Coach White said I was going to be more a part of the passing part of our offense and it felt good catching a touchdown pass,” said Thomas, who had 22 carries for 102 yards and four receptions for 78 yards. “I thought I was stopped a couple of times on that last rushing touchdown, but I knew we needed to make sure we won, so I just never gave up. We never gave up the entire night.”

It was a night for frustration for the Jaguars, as they lost their starting center earlier in the day and their starting quarterback Luke Fellers to an upper body injury in the second quarter after he had scored on an 18-yard run and engineered a long offensive series that was capped by Jaydan Steele’s 5-yard touchdown run.

Blue Springs South quarterback Luke Fellers races for a first-half touchdown in Friday's game against Blue Springs. Fellers helped the Jaguars to a 13-0 lead but was injured and the Wildcats rallied for a 28-13 win.

Reserves Conor Johnson and Zander Dombrowski alternated at quarterback following Fellers’ injury.

“You hate it for Luke that he got hurt,” second-year Jaguars coach Matt Klein said of the senior. “This game has been like so many of our other games – an injury, a play here or there, a mistake – but that’s football.

“Blue Springs played a good game. Congratulations to them for a well-played game. We made them fight for it early on. And I’m proud of our guys, they never gave up and kept fighting till the end.”

Blue Springs South's Dylan Reed grabs the face mask of Blue Springs running back DeAndre Thomas in Friday's game at South. Blue Springs rallied from a 13-0 deficit for a 28-13 win.