High schools

Blue Springs and Lee’s Summit ready for showdown

Updated: 2013-10-25T06:51:15Z


The Kansas City Star

A weekly football film session turned into a history lesson Monday at Blue Springs High School. It was quite lengthy, too.

After cycling through the usual assortment of offensive and defensive plays, the Wildcats coaching staff showcased some of the football program’s tradition on the projection screen. The numbers were telling — Blue Springs has won a conference championship in 19 of the past 24 seasons.

Another one may be on the way.

Blue Springs plays host to Lee’s Summit at 7 p.m. on Friday at Peve Stadium. Both teams are 8-0, turning this regular-season finale into a de-facto Suburban Gold conference championship game.

“Our kids understand the history here, and they don’t want to mess that up,” Blue Springs coach Kelly Donohoe said. “I think being a conference champion is a very important mark of a program. Our kids understand that.”

Lee’s Summit can’t lean on such tradition. The Tigers are still trying to establish it.

If they pull off an upset — and yes, they are underdogs despite the perfect 8-0 record — it will mark their first conference title since 1988.

“I think it’s really exciting for the kids,” Lee’s Summit coach Eric Thomas said. “We’ve gone through eight weeks and have been fortunate enough to win eight games. This is what it’s all about. This is why you put in the work — to be in a game like this.”

It qualifies as a bit of a surprise that Lee’s Summit reached a game of this magnitude. The Tigers won only three games last season, but they’ve dominated offensively this fall behind quarterback Drew Lock.

A junior who has received Division I offers from Missouri, Indiana and Louisville, Lock has thrown for 26 touchdowns this season.

His breakout game came against Blue Springs last October. In a 84-62 loss — that’s not a misprint — Lock threw for 345 yards and six touchdowns.

“If you watch the film, he’s even more dangerous this year. That’s a special kid,” Donohoe said. “... He makes throws you don’t see many guys on Saturday making. He’s a gunslinger, and he elevates them. They’re playing with more confidence than we’ve seen over there in awhile.”

As are the Wildcats. Blue Springs hasn’t lost a conference game since 2008. The Wildcats own the No. 1 spot in The Star’s big-class poll a year after winning the Missouri Class 6 state championship.

But they’re piling on points in a much different manner than last season. Junior quarterback Ian Brown has added a new element to the offense, throwing for 32 touchdowns.

That’s helped tailback Dalvin Warmack, the reigning Simone Award winner, regain his 2012 form. Warmack hasn’t reached the end zone with the same frequency, but his 1,461 rushing yards put him ahead of last season’s pace.

He will undoubtedly be the focal point for Lee’s Summit’s defense tonight. Warmack totaled 473 yards and seven touchdowns in the shootout last year.

“I know this — we’re going to be ready for the challenge,” Thomas said. “I’ve worked this team harder than I’ve ever worked a team, and they keep coming back for more. That’s what’s put us in this position. That’s why they’re ready for this game.”

To reach Sam McDowell, send email to smcdowell@kcstar.com. Follow him at twitter.com/SamMcDowell11.

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