Blue Springs football coach Kelly Donohoe doesn’t need to watch much film to gather a sense of what Rockhurst coach Tony Severino will try to accomplish tonight.
And vice versa.
They’ve met before — more times than they care to see each other, really.
In seven of the past 10 years, the two historic programs have played once during the regular season and an additional time in the playoffs.
Tack on another meeting tonight. Rockhurst will travel to Peve Stadium to meet the Wildcats for a 7 p.m. kickoff in a Class 6 state quarterfinal matchup.
Blue Springs defeated Rockhurst 38-24 in a week three matchup this season.
“After meeting all these years, it’s amazing how well we know each other and each other’s tendencies,” Donohoe said. “When you play an opponent as much as we play each other, it’s crazy how you get to know those guys. That’s going to make it interesting.”
That will be the chess battle within a larger, much more physical clash.
Blue Springs running back Dalvin Warmack ran for 162 yards and three touchdowns in the teams’ initial meeting, which was defined by a series of big plays.
Of the seven first-half touchdowns, all were at least 19 yards or longer.
Warmack hasn’t slowed down since, totaling 40 touchdowns in 11 games this season.
“I don’t know if you can stop him, but we have to slow him down a little bit and not give up the big play,” Severino said. “We’ve been doing a little better in that area.”
Both teams believe they have made significant progress since that third-week game — and the results back up those claims — but the keys will largely be the same.
Specifically, a large, dependable offensive line on the Blue Springs side will again have to win the fight against Rockhurst’s defensive front four, led by Kansas State recruit Jordan Willis.
“We realize a series of about 60 minor little battles will probably decide this game,” Donohoe said. “We’re going to lose several of those, but we have to win the majority of them to have a chance.”
Blue Springs is looking to reverse a statistical oddity in a reasonably evenly played series. The Wildcats haven’t successfully defended their home field against Rockhurst since 2001.
Since 2002, the teams have played in the quarterfinals six times. Rockhurst has won four of those games.
“It’s just a great series,” Severino said. “We’re right where we thought we’d be. They’re exactly where we thought they’d be. Let’s see what happens.”