While Blue Springs High School football coach Kelly Donohoe was looking through his overtime script Friday night at Peve Stadium – in a game his Wildcats would win 17-16 – coaching legend Tony Severino was gathering his Rockhurst players on the sidelines to talk about the possibility of a game-winning two-point conversion.
The Hawklets had just marched 90 yards and scored on an 11-yard run by Max Williams, to trail the host Wildcats 17-16 with just 20 seconds left.
“They have that great kicker and I thought Tony was going to go for the extra point and overtime,” Donohoe said. “Then they call the timeout, and I talk to Matt (Marble, the Wildcats defensive coordinator) and he’s got all our defensive kids around him and he’s saying, ‘We’re bringing everybody!’ I love his passion for the game.”
Rockhurst quarterback Nick Smrt had a wide open receiver on the far side of the end zone, but Blue Springs outside linebacker Jackson Boyd stormed past a would-be blocker and hit Smrt as the pass fell harmlessly to the turf.
There was no celebration on the Wildcats’ sidelines though, because there were 20 seconds left, and if the Hawklets were successful on the ensuing onsides kick, place kicker Owen Larson is accurate from the 55-yard range.
“We knew we had to get that onsides kick,” Donohoe said, “and Coop got it for us.”
Cooper Willich, who caught a 29-yard touchdown pass from Dom Harkness, jumped on the ball, setting off the real celebration following another thriller between the two archrivals.
It was the last time Severino, who is retiring after this season following a stellar 36-year career at Rockhurst, would bring his team to Peve Stadium. Before the game, he and two of his longtime assistants were presented plaques and Donohoe handed his longtime friend and mentor a walking cane.
“This rivalry is pretty special,” Donohoe said, “and it’s even more special when we win – especially on a night like tonight.”
With the win, Donohoe improves his record against Rockhurst to 14-19.
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