Ian Brown wasn’t exactly soliciting advice, but Blue Springs’ junior quarterback received plenty over the past few days.
During a week in which he prepared to face his former teammates from Rockhurst, Brown heard he was supposed to treat it just like any other game. It’s no different than the rest of them, his coaches told him.
He heard the message. Kind of.
“I went in thinking it’s another game, another week,” Brown said. “But in the back of your mind, you know something special is about to happen Friday night.”
On a night in which Rockhurst keyed on slowing tailback Dalvin Warmack, Brown shredded his former teammates for 254 yards and three touchdowns in a 22-7 victory at Peve Stadium.
He started hot. He got even better.
Brown completed his first six passes for 133 yards, a string that included an 88-yard fly pattern for a touchdown to Kaleb Prewett. He finished 13 of 17.
“That’s the most fun I’ve had in forever,” said Brown, who transferred from Rockhurst to Blue Springs last spring. “I’m friends with a lot of those guys. It’s fun playing against you friends in anything, especially a Friday night football game.
“That ... that was awesome.”
Each of his three touchdown passes came at pivotal moments Friday.
His first-quarter, 88-yard deep ball to Prewett spoke for itself. His final touchdown — a 31-yard seam pattern to Darrius Shepherd — was a fourth-down conversion.
He also found Prewett on the same fly pattern down the sideline for a 39-yard score with only 2.8 seconds remaining in the first half. The backbreaking touchdown came on the first play of a drive set up by Rockhurst’s clock mismanagement. The Hawklets, 0-3, had an opportunity to run out the clock on the previous drive but failed to do so.
That blunder allowed Blue Springs one desperation heave.
“I didn’t really see the ball in the lights. I finally saw it when it was only a couple of feet in front of me,” Prewett said. “It was a blur. It was a good (pass). I just put my hands out and made a catch.”
The six points sucked the momentum away from the Rockhurst defense, which kept the game interesting. For a half, anyway.
Rockhurst never led, but it was looking at just a three-point deficit entering halftime before that touchdown.
“That hurt,” Rockhurst senior linebacker Luke Arbanas said. “We had some mistakes. We’re smarter than that. But we’ll get better.”
Blue Springs, 3-0, made its fair share of mistakes, too, but not many of them came on defense.
Rockhurst running back A.J. Taylor scored on a 6-yard scamper midway through the second quarter to cut the Wildcats’ lead to 10-7, but that was it for the success stories.
Blue Springs dominated the line of scrimmage, tallying six sacks, forcing two turnovers and holding Rockhurst to 30 rushing yards on 27 carries. Rockhurst quarterback T.J. Green spent much of the night scrambling in the pocket. He completed 12 of 26 passes for 118 yards and an interception.
Trying to make it a one-score game, the Hawklets reached the red zone twice in the second half but came up scoreless each time.
“That was a heck of an effort from our defense,” Blue Springs coach Kelly Donohoe told his team after the game. “We’re going to talk a lot more about that one.”
It’s more of the same from the Missouri Class 6 defending champions, who haven’t lost since dropping an overtime thriller to Lee’s Summit West last September.
Blue Springs can avenge that loss next Friday night when it travels to face the Titans.
As for Rockhurst, it doesn’t get much easier. The Hawklets will face Hutchinson (Kan.), Blue Springs South and Liberty over the next three weeks.
“It’s all about getting better right now,” Arbanas said. “We have a lot of potential on this team. We’re going to play the best. And eventually we’re going to be the best.”