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