There’s coach’s speak , and then there’s hard evidence.
Football coaches Kelly Donohoe of Blue Springs and Ryan Schartz of Osage“>Fort Osage are equipped with the latter as they head into the Missouri state championship weekend in St. Louis – Blue Springs in Class 6 and Fort Osage in Class 5. Both traveled I-70 to the Edward Jones Dome three seasons ago, only to come back with second-place trophies.
“Sometimes you keep advancing and you get pretty excited,” Schartz said. “You have to have a pretty focused team to win. Of course, that’s one of those things that’s easier said than done.”
The two coaches plan to reiterate that message anyway. In a brief speech with his team at Monday afternoon’s practice, Donohoe reminded his players that there are no guarantees in state championship games.
“You only get one chance,” Donohoe said. “There are no do-overs.”
BLUE SPRINGS (12-1)
VS. FRANCIS HOWELL (12-1)
When: 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis
Last state championship appearance: Blue Springs — 2009 (lost); Francis Howell — first appearance
Inside Blue Springs: A flashy offense rolled once again behind reliable tailback Dalvin Warmack, owner of 43 touchdowns this season. But it has been the Wildcats’ defense — most specifically, its defensive line — that has been most impressive in the postseason. The Wildcats have allowed only 18 points in the last two weeks, with 14 of those coming late in the fourth quarter after the game was decided.
Inside Francis Howell: A defensive tear has Francis Howell in the Class 6 state championship for the first time. The team has given up a total of only six points in three weeks. A big reason is star linebacker Jarrett Franklin, who has 21 sacks.
Prediction: Blue Springs 35, Francis Howell 21
FORT OSAGE (12-1)
VS. KIRKWOOD (13-0)
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis
Last state championship appearance: Fort Osage — 2009 (lost), Kirkwood — 2011 (lost)
Inside Fort Osage: If defense truly wins championships, Fort Osage should be in good shape. One of the state’s most reliable — and physical — units has posted seven shutouts. The offense also prefers a physical battle with gritty quarterback Steven McBee providing the leadership. McBee has accounted for 32 touchdowns this year.
Inside Kirkwood: Kirkwood is back in the state championship for the second straight season after losing to Staley a year ago. Quarterback Jordan Bishop leads a dynamic run-option offense that has scored at least four touchdowns in all but one game.
Prediction: Kirkwood 21, Fort Osage 17