|Brett Sterbach. KC Star.
This was one of the quickest games I've ever witnessed, as the run-orientated teams left the field at ODAC in under two hours time. The game was as much of a blur.
SM West jumped out to an early 6-0 lead when AJ Verdini found Andre Maloney on a five-yard slant route. The Vikings pushed the lead to 9-0 later in the half on a 33-yard field goal from Joey Reed. SM West added another Verdini to Maloney connection for a touchdown--this time from 29 yards out--to push the lead to 15-0 at halftime.
In the third quarter Reed added a second field goal from 32 yards out to make things 18-0. Olathe East's lone score came on a 16-yard touchdown run from Hayden Frazier later in the half. SM West running back Brett Sterbach was a mainstay throughout the game, adding 132 yards on 25 carries, his fourth 100-yard rushing performance of the season.
SM East 3, Olathe South 0
If you were expecting offensive fireworks in this game you might have left disappointed. However, if you're one who subscribes to old school defensive battles, this game was all you. To slow SM East's high-powered offensive attack Olathe South came out in a hybrid 3-3-5 defense, giving their safeties plenty of depth to prevent long pass plays. The scheme worked exceptionally well, limiting SM East's pass offense all night. The one drive it faltered had to do with the run lanes it allowed up front.
On the drive which took place in the third quarter, SM East quarterback Jordan Darling carried the ball six times for 25 yards, all up the middle. He also completed a 20-yard pass to Connor Rellihan which put the Lancers into scoring position. That proved to be all they needed. A resulting 19-yard field goal from Will Humphrey put SM East up 3-0 and in the driver's seat for good. With the exception of one play where Olathe South's Russell White broke off a 40-yard run, it never really looked as though the Falcons clicked on offense. The closest they came to scoring was reaching the SM East 29-yard line. SM East's victory ended Olathe South's winning streak at nine games and positioned the Lancers as the league's only undefeated team.
Lawrence Free State 34, Olathe North 28
Tied at 28 late in the fourth quarter, Olathe North gained possession of the ball in their own territory and had a chance to drive and potentially notch a late fourth quarter score for a win. Things did not go well for the Eagles, however. The officiating crew lost track of the downs and took a down away from Olathe North when they failed to monitor the chain gang's mishap. Two personal foul penalties ensued--one on the field and one related to the botched down--which resulted in a major loss of yardage and subsequent punt. Free State was able to score shortly thereafter on seven yard touchdown run from Kyle McFarland. Free State led 20-7 at the start of the fourth quarter but Olathe North made a furious comeback, tying the game at 28 with just minutes remaining the game.
Lawrence 46, SM North 20
This game started in similar fashion to the way most Brad Strauss-led games for LHS have--the Chesty Lions dominating on offense. The first two scores of the game came on passes from Strauss to Erick Mayo and Will Thompson to give LHS a 12-0 advantage. Both teams added a touchdown before the half to make things 18-7 at the intermission. In the second half LHS broke things open with two rushing scores from Strauss, a interception returned for a touchdown by Kieren Severa and a 60-yard touchdown run from backup quarterback Tucker Sutter. The bright spot on the night for the Indians was running back Jesse Patterson who had 21 carries for 162 yards and one touchdown.
SM South 21, SM Northwest 17
SM Northwest played better in the first half in this one. The Cougars jumped out to a 14-7 lead on a 20-yard touchdown run from Kelby Quint and a 19-yard touchdown pass from Lucas Karlin to Ryan Spaits. SM South kept things honest with one touchdown run from Gabe Guild. In the second half SM South added two more touchdowns on runs from Guild, while SM Northwest added one field goal. Trailing 21-17, the Cougars regained possession with minutes to go. They drove down the field and actually came within a dropped touchdown pass of winning the game, but in the end they weren't able to pull out the victory as they dropped to 1-3.
Leavenworth 30, Olathe Northwest 23
Olathe Northwest jumped out to an early 14-0 lead and it looked like the Ravens were in position to blow the game open. But that was quite opposite of how things transpired thereafter. Leavenworth, led by Jason Randall's 242 rushing yards and two touchdowns marched back to win. The game was tied at 23 late in the fourth quarter, but a 41-yard run from Isaiah Ross set the Pioneers up to score in the redzone. A one-yard plunge from Randall gave Leavenworth a touchdown lead and ultimately the victory. It marked the first time in last 12 years that Leavenworth has won back-to-back games.