Israelite, Blue Springs South seniors seek their first win against rival Blue Springs
When Alex Israelite was in the sixth grade, he fell in love with Blue Springs South High School football.
The youngster, who grew up in Blue Springs, counted the minutes, hours and days until he could join his family at Larry Stewart Memorial Stadium to watch his Jaguars.
"We went to all the games," said Israelite, a 5-foot-10, 165-pound defensive back and receiver who has a nose for the football. "I loved watching our undefeated state championship team in 2015.
“But the games I really loved were the rivalry games between Blue Springs and Blue Springs South. They were amazing, and if you won, you had bragging rights for a year. And if you lost, well, it was tough every time you saw a Blue Springs player.
"Bragging rights are big in our community, and they've had them a long time."
The Wildcats have won the last seven meetings and lead 20-10 overall, and you don't need to be a mathematician to realize that means Israelite and his fellow seniors are 0-3 against them during their high school careers.
"We want to change that," said Israelite, who also serves as the Student Senate president. "And what better way to do that than by winning our senior year. If you only win one game, it might as well be your last one, and I think we have the team that can do it."
South got off to a quick 13-0 lead in 2020, but the Wildcats came back to claim a 28-13 win.
"Don't remind me of that, please," said Israelite, cringing at the thought of that tough loss.
"This game is so much more than a game. It's for our communities, our schools, our students, our teachers – it's about everything you want to accomplish in your football careers at both schools, and they've won the last three.
"We're going to do all we can to end that streak on Friday."
No one would like to see Israelite and his Jaguar teammates rewarded with a big win than coach Matt Klein, who is 0-2 since taking over the Jaguars in 2019.
"I know how our guys feel, because I haven't found a way to beat Blue Springs," Klein said. "It's such a great rivalry because the kids all know each other, and their players have friends on our team, and we have guys who are friends with the Blue Springs players.
"And it's for bragging rights. I found out my first year. It didn't take long to realize how big this game is, and believe me, we're going to do all we can to find a way to win for Alex and all our seniors and our community and our school."