A rushing play simply referred to as “misdirection” is a longtime staple in the Blue Springs Wildcats playbook.
By SAM MCDOWELL
The Kansas City Star
It’s aptly named.
On a first-quarter misdirection carry Friday, tailback Dalvin Warmack started right, but he was met by half the Blue Springs South defensive line. So he darted back left, fought off a defender with a stiff-arm and beat two more defenders in the secondary who initially appeared to have an angle at knocking him out of bounds.
Instead, 6 seconds and 45 yards later, Warmack was gone.
It was a play he says he wouldn’t have made last season — when he led Blue Springs to the Missouri Class 6 state championship.
But on this night, in a 40-0 rout of Blue Springs South, he made it look easy.
“I’ve gotten a lot stronger in my legs,” said Warmack, the Thomas A. Simone Award winner last season. “I worked so hard on that. For people to say they don’t see it, that’s my motivation every day waking up. I want to get stronger.”
The Wildcats have followed his lead. They easily disposed of the rival Jaguars, who had steadily built late-season momentum during a three-game winning streak.
That momentum, in fact, had worried Blue Springs coach Kelly Donohoe, who expected a tightly contested game Friday.
That wasn’t the case. The Wildcats mounted a 33-0 lead by halftime and will play host to Lee’s Summit in the Missouri Class 6 quarterfinals next Friday.
“This team is playing at its peak,” Donohoe said. “I don’t know if I’ve ever been a part of a team — even our state championship teams — that has ever been playing this well.”
A scary thought, but a tough one to argue against following Friday’s performance.
It started with Warmack. He scored a pair of touchdowns in the opening quarter before finishing with 210 yards and three scores. He carried the ball 17 times and only four after halftime.
The Wildcats’ passing game was nearly as efficient. Quarterback Ian Brown was 12 of 17 for 147 yards and two touchdowns — both to Darrius Shepherd, who caught nine passes for 11 yards.
“That has to be one of the best performances we’ve ever had,” Donohoe said. “And it came against a really good football team.”
And that’s just one side of the ball.
Not only did the Blue Springs’ defense prevent the Jaguars from scoring, it kept them out of the red zone altogether.
Blue Springs South threw the ball 33 times Friday but still didn’t cross the century mark in passing yards. Jaguars quarterback Chris Swingle — whose return from an injury three weeks ago sparked the team’s three-game winning streak — was picked off four times, twice by cornerback Antwon President.
In an effort to negate Blue Springs’ vaunted pass rush, Swingle threw short, quick passes most of the night. But it translate into much success. He completed less than 40 percent of his throws.
The Jaguars gained 38 yards on the ground.
“That’s a solid (defense),” Swingle said. “They played great all year. We knew coming in it would take our best game to beat them. That wasn’t our best game.”
To reach Sam McDowell, send email to email@example.com. Follow him at twitter.com/SamMcDowell11.