|Cody Stanclift, center, celebrates his TD. LJWorld.|
It was fitting that the biggest matchup ever between Free State and LHS went down to the wire. Late in the fourth quarter LHS defensive back Drake Hofer picked off a Kyle McFarland pass near the endzone, halting a potential game-sealing Free State drive. Trailing 21-14, the Chesty Lions lined up inside their own five-yard line. On LHS' first play of the drive Brad Strauss made a short dropback and pass, but Free State linebacker Keith Loneker came off the edge and deflected the pass as it left Strauss' hands. The ball floated in the air for what seemed like an eternity before it landed in the hands of Free State defensive tackle Cody Stanclift, who took it back seven yards for the game sealing touchdown, putting Free State up 28-14.
LHS struck first in the game, scoring on a nine-yard touchdown pass from Strauss to receiver Erick Mayo. An unsuccessful two-point conversion attempt left LHS with a 6-0 lead. The lead stood through the better part of the first half before Free State drove and scored a touchdown on a one-yard run from Joe Dineen with mere seconds left in the first half. A successful PAT put Free State up 7-6 at halftime.
LHS faltered on their first possession of the third quarter, and Free State answered with a touchdown on a 15-yard pass from McFarland to Tye Hughes, to jump to a 14-6 lead. LHS was able to keep things in check shortly thereafter when they put together a drive concluding with a 19-yard touchdown pass from Strauss to Will Thompson. A successful two-point try tied the game at 14 entering the fourth quarter.
Free State scored on their second play of the fourth quarter on a thee-yard touchdown pass from McFarland to Zach Bickling to go up 21-14. LHS was unable to score on several possessions before ultimately tossing the pick-six to Stanclift later in the quarter.
Olathe East 33, SM South 9
The Raiders' fumbleitis finally caught up with them. In the first quarter they lost two fumbles which set Olathe East up at the Raiders' 24 and 18 yards lines. On both occasions Olathe East punched in scores, the first on an eight-yard touchdown pass from John Blazevic to Nathan Guthrie and the second on a run from Hayden Frazier, to go up 14-0. A Dainan Swoope field goal just before the half kept SM South in the game, trailing 14-3 at halftime. In the third quarter Olathe East broke things open on a six-yard touchdown run from Ryan Woodson to jump ahead 21-3. Jalen Branson then intercepted a Jon Prueter pass and took it back 81 yards for a score, and the Hawks followed that up with a punt return for a touchdown of 36 yards by Brandon Trinkle. The scores gave Olathe East a 33-3 lead late in the fourth quarter. SM South's final surge came with two minutes remaining in the game when Dalton Lewallen scored on a five-yard touchdown run.
Olathe North 21, Olathe South 14
A rough season ended on a poor note for the defending 6A state champion Falcons, as they were eliminated from playoff contention following a loss to rival Olathe North. For the Eagles, a season that at one point looked like it would be a struggle to just win a game has matured into a playoff berth. Olathe North broke the game open on their first drive of the night when Venus Triplett took a carry 58 yards for a touchdown to put the Eagles up 7-0. The scored stayed the same until the second quarter when Triplett added another touchdown, this time from two yards out, to give Olathe North a 14-0 lead that they kept through the start of the fourth quarter.
Things got worse for Olathe South when quarterback Frank Seurer tossed an interception which was returned 91 yards for a touchdown by Jake Reed. The score gave Olathe North an intimidating 21-0 lead late. Olathe South managed two touchdowns in desperation time--one on a one-yard run from Russell White and another a two-yard run from Matt Elliott with 2:13 left in the fourth quarter--to pull the game to 21-14. The Falcons managed to regain possession with 1:21 remaining after forcing an Olathe North punt, but they were unable to score again.
Leavenworth 62, Wyandotte 22
Not much to see here, folks. The Pioneers rounded out their season with a vengeance, scoring 62 first half points in collecting their fourth win of the season. Leavenworth's first half scores came, in order--deep breath--on a 13-yard run from Isaiah Ross, a fumble recovery for a touchdown by TJ Stinson, a 10-yard run from Jason Randall, a Randall fumble into the endzone which was recovered by Eli Keppler, a one-yard run from Da'Quan Blake, another 10-yarder from Randall, a 17-yard pass from Judson Cole to Keppler, a 46-yard interception return by Ross and a 27-yard run from Cole. Randall carried the ball 18 times for 135 and the two scores, breaking the 1,000-yard rushing barrier on the season. Linebacker Josh Ammel also had a special night, recording 11 tackles which gave him 101 tackles for the season.
SM West 40, SM Northwest 9
SM Northwest actually jumped out to an early lead when the Cougars scored on a 16-yard run from Kelby Quint. But after that it was all SM West. The Vikings scores three consecutive touchdowns--a 15-yard run from Steffon Ward, a 76-yard run from Brett Sterbach and a five-yard run from Tory Powell--to go up 19-6 at halftime. In the third quarter it was more of the same from the Vikings, as Ray Cherry scored on a three-yard touchdown run and Powell added his second rushing score of the night from two yards out. In the fourth quarter SM West jumped to a 40-7 lead on a two-yard run from Jaunyae Stallings. SM Northwest's final echo of the season came late in the fourth quarter when they recorded a safety on a botched SM West punt.
Gardner-Edgerton 41, Olathe Northwest 10
Gardner-Edgerton nearly accomplished the Olathe sweep--and may have if they'd had a chance at Olathe East. The Trailblazers wasted no time in this one, scoring on their first offensive possession on a 79-yard touchdown run from Traevohn Wrench. An Olathe Northwest three and out gave GE the ball back, and they capitalized with a 12-yard touchdown run from Wrench. An Olathe Northwest fumbled gave GE the ball back again, and they put together a nine-play 51-yard drive capped off with a touchdown run from, who else--Wrench--to go up 21-0.
Olathe Northwest finally answered with a nice drive capped off by a seven-yard touchdown run from Alex Pruss. The score made things 21-7, GE. Next, GE's quarterback Jared Hobby found Josh Lang on a 35-yard touchdown pass to go up 28-7. Just before half Wrench scored another long one for GE, this time from 64 yards out to give the Trailblazers a 34-7 halftime lead. In the second half Olathe Northwest's Riley Adam made a 34-yard field goal, before Wrench capped off a drive with yet another touchdown.
Wrench carried the ball 30 times for 314 yards and five touchdowns during the contest. In his three district games against Olathe South, Olathe North and Olathe Northwest, he combined for 984 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns on just 94 carries. In layman's terms, he cemented his spot as one of the four Simone finalists.
SM East 49, SM North 14
No box score was provided (although this SM East flavored game video by Brian Libeer is a good recap). With the victory, SM East recorded seven wins in a season for the second time in the past three years, a major accomplishment for the program. SM North on the other hand finished winless--the only team in the Sunflower League to do so in 2012--marking the first time since 1985 that they were unable to collect a victory through a season. The Lancers (7-2) will advance to play Olathe East (5-4) in the first round of the playoffs on Friday night at CBAC. The game sets up well for SM East, seeing as they boast arguably the league's top rushing defense, and Olathe East lives and dies by the run.