There weren’t many memorable moments for the seniors on this year’s state-bound Blue Springs South football team when they were sophomores.

There weren’t many memorable moments for the seniors on this year’s state-bound Blue Springs South football team when they were sophomores.

“We were 4-6,” South coach Greg Oder said, grinning. “Their junior year we won seven games – 11 wins in two seasons. I think they’ve gotten a little bit better.”



The 11-2 Jaguars board their buses at 10:30 a.m. today for the four-hour trip to St. Louis to take on 13-0 Christian Brothers College High School in the Class 6 state championship contest at 7:30 p.m. at the Edward Jones Dome.

“The last time we went to state, all the seniors were freshmen,” senior running back/return man Steven Sullivan said, “and we rode on the second bus. We weren’t up with the varsity guys.”

Tonight, Sullivan and his fellow Jaguars will lead the charge into the Edward Jones Dome as South appears in the state championship game for third time in the past six years.

“We’re living a dream. Win or lose Friday night, that’s going to be it for Blue Springs South football this season. We’re going to practice at the Kansas City Chiefs indoor practice facility this week, since we’re playing inside in the championship game,” Sullivan said earlier this week, “and everyone on this team is going to work harder than they’ve ever worked in their lives.”

They had to work hard to make past the state semifinals as host Francis Howell used a 21-point third quarter to take a 21-20 lead over the Jaguars. But a gutsy fourth-quarter performance by both the offensive and defensive units lifted the Jaguars to the game-winning touchdown on a 10-yard carry by Sullivan.

He followed that run with a huge 2-point run, to account for the final 28-21 score.

“You just wish you had some time to enjoy what this team has done this year,” said Oder, who along with his staff are putting in some overtime hours in the film room this week.

“CBC is – good gosh – they look so good on film. They might be the best team we’ll play this season. But we’ve played a lot of awfully good teams, and lately, we’ve found a way to get some big wins.”

Depending on who you talk to on the Jaguars, this roller-coaster ride of a week will affect different players in different ways.

“How many times have I told you the past month or so that, ‘This is the biggest game of the season?’” asked senior defensive back/wide receiver Pat Martin. “Well, this is the biggest game, and it’s our last game. I am experiencing every emotion you can think of – I’m nervous, excited, anxious, thrilled – but I know I have to keep my emotions in check.

“We dreamed about this when we were little kids, now it’s real.”

Levi Riley said simply, “The team that makes the fewest mistakes is going to win this game, and we’ve played well in the postseason.”

Sullivan summed up the week in one word.

“Crazy,” he said. “And right now, I like crazy. The only thing I don’t like about this season is that is has gone by far too fast. It’s surreal. I remember back when we were on that second bus, wondering what it was like to be on the bus with the big guys.

And the man with the most pressure on his broad shoulders is all-everything quarterback/safety/punter/place kicker Connor Harris, who isn’t doubting his coaching staff and his teammates or himself.

“Kids in school come up and ask me about the pressure,” Harris said, “and I tell them I don’t have any more pressure than anyone else. The line needs to block, the backs need to run, the receivers need to catch the ball and we need to play great defense.

“I don’t have to carry this team. I haven’t carried this team – it’s been a team effort all the way. I have never been a part of a team with greater leadership, and we all know what we have to do to get it done Friday at The Dome.”