|Olathe North's Tanner Gentry. Photo courtesy|
the Kansas City Star.
Olathe North’s first scoring possession was a seven-play drive midway through the first quarter which ended with a 28-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jordan Bruce (the cousin of former Olathe North Simone Award winner Arland Bruce) to wide receiver Tanner Gentry. Gentry caught the pass on a slant route across the middle, eluded several defenders and took the ball to the house. The extra point try was botched, but Bruce was able to run it around the outside for the two-point conversion to give Olathe North an 8-0 advantage.Two possessions later Olathe North scored on a five-yard stretch run from Orange Mooney.
Olathe North forced a three-and-out on the Hawks’ next possession, before getting the ball back again early in the second quarter. The Eagles put together an impressive 12-play, 70-yard drive ending with another touchdown pass from Bruce to Gentry, this time from 25 yards out.
Up 22-0, it looked like Olathe North was about to run away with the game—but Olathe East had something to say about it.
On their second offensive play of the second quarter Olathe East quarterback John Blazevic hit wide receiver Chad Johnson on a 67-yard fly route down the left side of the field for a touchdown. The score pulled the Hawks to within 15 points, 22-7. Treshawn Root fumbled on Olathe North’s next possession, giving Olathe East the ball back with just over four minutes remaining in the first half. The Hawks took advantage of the turnover and drove to the Olathe North 31-yard line in 10 plays. Facing a 4th down and 18 with less than 20 seconds remaining in the half, Olathe East made one last attempt at a touchdown.
Blazevic fumbled the snap, but recollected it and tossed it to the front right corner of the endzone where Johnson made a miraculous catch over two defenders, hauling in the 31-yard touchdown pass—his second touchdown reception. After converting the extra point, Olathe East went into the half trailing Olathe North 22-15.
The second quarter magic didn’t continue for Olathe East in the second half, however. In the third quarter the closest either team came to scoring was a missed 27-yard field goal attempt by Olathe North.The first score of the second half came at the 5:35 mark of the fourth quarter when Olathe North’s Mooney capped off an 81-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown run. The score and PAT put Olathe North up for good, 29-14.
Lawrence 35, SM West 12
Lawrence's junior quarterback Brad Strauss began the season ranked as the top player in the Sunflower League in my Player Ratings, and he did everything to live up to that hype in week one. The Chesty Lions got on the board first when Strauss connected with receiver Erick Mayo on a 27-yard touchdown pass. SM West responded with an 85-yard touchdown end-around run from Ricco Hopkins, but failed to make the extra point. Lawrence came back with a 4-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a 16-yard touchdown pass from Strauss to Drake Hofer. Early in the second quarter SM West got on the board one last time, when Armani Williams hit Joel Spiller on a 32-yard touchdown pass. The Vikings were once again unable to convert the extra point.
From there, Strauss went on to score two touchdowns on runs of four and 23 yards, and then Lawrence running back Charles Jackson pounded in a three-yard touchdown run with under a minute left in the fourth quarter to enforce the victory.
Olathe Northwest 40, Leavenworth 14
Is this the year of the receiver in the Sunflower League? Olathe Northwest certainly hopes so. Their 6-foot-10 receiver Willie Cauley had a game for the ages against the Pioneers of Leavenworth, catching four touchdown passes and gaining 122 receiving yards. Olathe Northwest scored first when quarterback Dalton Rook hit Cauley on a 27-yard touchdown pass early in the first quarter. Leavenworth was able to combat the score with a drive that ended with a one-yard touchdown run from Judson Cole.
From there it was all Olathe Northwest--or more appropriately, all Rooks to Cauley. The combo hooked up on touchdown passes of 10 and 16 yards to close out the first half, and then connected again in the fourth quarter on a seven-yard touchdown pass. Cole had chipped in another rushing touchdown from three yards out in the third quarter, but it wasn't enough, as Olathe Northwest finished off the game with a 59-yard touchdown run from Connor Middleton and a 57-yard interception return for a touchdown by Tim Mayes.
Olathe South 35, Lawrence Free State 14
This time around it was the Olathe South offense that jumped out and dominated the game. Free State scored early on a 20-yard touchdown pass from Tye Hughes to Kyle McFarland--but that was the last lead for the Firebirds. Olathe South scored 35 straight unanswered points. Jordan Ward scored on a 19-yard touchdown run later in the first quarter, before Scott Gourley intercepted a Free State pass and took it 15 yards to the house. Olathe South led 14-7 at the half.
In the third quarter Olathe South added two touchdowns on a 66-yard run from Ward and a three-yard touchdown run from Teddy Colbert. Russell White scored the Falcons' fifth touchdown late in the fourth quarter on a one-yard run. Free State scored with under two minutes left when Hughes hit Joe Dineen on a nine-yard touchdown pass.
SM North 26, SM South 22
As usual, the annual contest between SM North and SM South lived up to the billing. A hard-fought battle came down to the final possession of the game before a winner was decided. An early 12-yard touchdown pass from SM South quarterback Alex Forslund to receiver Weston Searcey was matched by SM North when their quarterback Ryan Theis hit Mason Perez on a 26-yard touchdown pass. Gabe Guild caught a 14-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter for SM South before Theis hit Perez again on a long touchdown pass, this time from 58 yards. SM South led 14-13 at the half.
SM North reeled off two unanswered touchdowns on a 26-yard pass from Theis to Matthew Maynard and a seven-yard run by Brock Burrows to gain a 26-14 lead. SM South scored midway through the fourth quarter on an eight-yard run by Guild to pull within four points. SM South then gained possession one more time with 2:18 left in the game. The Raiders drove all the way to the SM North 12-yard line, but the drive ended when SM North defensive back Jack Currie jumped in front of a Forslund pass for an interception.