Blue Springs wasted no time picking up where it left off last season. Neither did Dalvin Warmack.
The Wildcats weren’t perfect, but they did look like a team bent on defending its Missouri Class 6 title on Friday night, flashing its big-play capabilities and stout defense in routing St. Joseph Central 41-6 in the season opener for both teams at Blue Springs’ Peve Stadium.
Warmack, last season’s Simone Award winner, appears ready to defend his title as Kansas City’s best prep player as well. He finished with 165 yards rushing on 14 carries and 101 receiving yards and three touchdowns.
All in all, not bad for openers. At least that’s how Wildcats coach Kelly Donohoe felt afterwards.
“Overall for a first night out, I was pretty happy with the discipline of our guys,” Donohoe said. “That St. Joseph Central team is a good squad, but we took them out early with our team speed I thought.”
Blue Springs scored quickly on its first possession when Warmack, on the Wildcats’ fourth play of the game, took a shovel pass from quarterback Ian Brown and sprinted 84 yards for his first touchdown. And that was after the Wildcats went nowhere on their first three plays.
“It most definitely felt good,” Warmack said. “Breaking a big one for your first touchdown is definitely an accomplishment. It was a great way to start the season.”
Later in the first quarter, wide receiver/ punt returner Darrius Shephard got to flash his speed with a 70-yard punt return for the Wildcats’ second touchdown. With Blue Springs already up 17-0 early in the second quarter, Warmack raced for his second TD on a 74-yard run.
“Obviously, we try to get the ball in the hands of our big playmakers,” Donohoe said. “Warmack and Shepherd and (Cobi) Bissel, those guys are special. They just make big plays.”
St. Joseph Central, consistently bottled up by the Wildcats defense, could only muster a 75-yard interception return by Matthew Prussman in the second quarter. The Indians managed only 85 total yards in the first half and never threatened to score in the second.
“I was really pleased with our execution on defense tonight,” Donohoe said. “This is going to be a great defensive team if we keep hitting hard and making plays.
By halftime, Blue Springs held a 33-6 lead and was well on its way. Warmack tacked on another TD on an 11-yard run up the middle in the third quarter as he, too, enjoyed getting the season off to an impressive start. The Wildcats, he said, are ready to deal with another season of being the team to beat.
“With all hype about us we’re definitely feeling the pressure,” Warmack said. “We’re just trying to come out and play our best football and do our job every day.”