After two weeks away from football, Blue Springs running back Jaylen Ivey didn’t waste his return.
Ivey rushed 21 times for 162 yards and a touchdown in his first game back from suspension, after he kicked an opposing player two weeks ago.
Ivey, a junior, battled allergy issues all night. But he wasn’t about to let that take him away from his team’s 35-21 win over Shawnee Mission West on Friday at Shawnee Mission South as part of the cross-border Sunflower-Suburban Showdown.
“I could barely breathe out there,” Ivey said. “There wasn’t any way I wasn’t going to be out there, though. Being out for a couple weeks, I really missed it.”
Despite Ivey’s efforts offensively, his team faced a 21-14 deficit at halftime, with SM West’s hard-to-stop option attack — which is powered by quarterback Zach Witters and running back Jason Meeker — rolling.
But come halftime, Blue Springs had had enough.
Blue Springs scored 21 straight in the second half, and tacked on a defensive shutout after that point.
It took only 1 minute, 13 seconds of the second half for Blue Springs to even things up. On a sweep play, Tyree King scampered 41 yards for the tying touchdown. The drive lasted a mere four plays, bolstered by a huge 33-yard rush by Ivey.
Ivey got his own touchdown on Blue Springs’ next possession, spinning across a line of defenders horizontally and finally slipping a tackle to get across the goal line. Blue Springs took a 28-21 lead off of that score, with 2:54 remaining in the third quarter.
“It was really great having Jaylen back for us,” Blue Springs head coach Kelly Donohoe said. “I’m really proud of him.”
Blue Springs scored its sealing touchdown with 10:10 to play. Nick Wood, who hadn’t had a carry to that point, took his first for a 53-yard touchdown, finding the sideline and diving to the pylon.
While Blue Springs was finding itself offensively, West was sputtering.
“We really got out of ourselves there in the second half,” SM West head coach Tim Callaghan said. “They really controlled the ball, and we had a lot of little things pile up, nickel-and-dime penalties. But I think we matched the physicality, and I’m not disappointed in our kids.”
SM West had actually been the one to take control earlier: By the end of the first half, it had intercepted Blue Springs quarterback Chase Donohoe three times — one pick each from Cole Fletcher, Jason Potter and Meeker.
With Blue Springs holding a 14-7 lead in the second quarter, West put together a 12-play drive, with all 80 yards coming from Witters and Meeker. The tying touchdown came off a toss to Meeker from 2 yards out.
Seconds later, Fletcher’s interception at the West 45-yard-line put the Vikings in position to take their first lead. On the ensuing possession, Meeker pushed through the middle and got to the edge for a crucial first down on third-and-18.
Potter (who would nab his interception on the next defensive series) actually “intercepted” his own quarterback during the go-ahead drive. Scrambling, Witters tossed into a tight window, the ball got deflected into the air, and Potter snatched it at the Blue Springs 11. Meeker rushed for a touchdown on the next play, giving West the 21-14 lead that carried into halftime.