Francis Howell bows to Blue Springs in first title game appearance
By: Jonathan Duncan
The Francis Howell Vikings made a magical and historic run through the 2012 Missouri state playoffs, but on Saturday night the Vikings run came to a dead stop.
Blue Springs was bigger, faster, stronger and more relentless.
The Wildcats scored five straight times to open the evening and never looked back in rolling to a 42-3 victory at the Edward Jones Dome in capturing the school’s first state championship since 2003.
“That’s a great football team (Blue Springs),” Howell coach Bryan Koch said. “They took the game over early and I think we were still caught in the moment of being here as opposed to being ready to play here and that’s 100 percent my fault but at the end of the day, I just told our kids in the locker room that I’d rather win second place with this group than first place with any other group.”
Fifth-ranked Howell (12-2) was playing in its first state title game after making it to the semifinals last season and was the first St. Charles County team to advance to a state championship game since St. Charles won in 1982 in Class 4.
Senior standout running back Donte Harrell once again did his part for the Vikings with 140 yards rushing on 21 carries but the rest of the Howell offense sputtered with just 250 total yards against a hard-nosed Blue Springs defense.
Blue Springs (13-1), which was ranked number two in Class 6, claimed its fourth state title with the win and first in nine years.
Junior running back Dalvin Warmack led the Wildcats offense with 181 yards rushing on 23 carries with a pair of touchdowns. The Wildcats rolled up 372 yards of offense with 272 of those coming on the ground as Blue Springs massive offensive line continually hammered on the smaller Howell defensive front.
“They played hard and fast and they got an early jump on us physicality-wise,” Howell senior inside linebacker Calvin Munson said. “They just came out there with their A-game and we didn’t.”
Blue Springs came right down the field and scored on a 5-yard run by Warmack for a 7-0 lead with 9:15 left in the first quarter.
A 6-yard scoring run by quarterback Wilson Lamb made it 14-0 for the Wildcats just one play in the second quarter. The touchdown capped off a 73-yard march by Blue Springs.
The next series saw Blue Springs score again as Lamb hooked up with Darrius Shepard on a 28-yard scoring strike giving the Wildcats a whopping 21-0 lead.
Just before halftime, the Wildcats marched 78 yards and scored again as Lamb hit paydirt on a 1-yard run.
In the closing seconds of the half, Howell’s offense finally was able to show a small pulse, as Zac Perkins kicked a 35-yard field goal to trim the gap to 28-3 but the Vikings were already in a deep hole.
Blue Springs picked up right where it left off on its first drive of the second half. Four plays into the drive, Warmack broke off tackle and raced 47 yards for a touchdown making it 35-3.
Blue Springs then stretched the lead to 42-3 on Cobi Bissell’s 6-yard touchdown run with 6:58 left to go. That score kicked off the running clock.