|Olathe East's Ryan Woodson. KC Star.
This might have been the blueprint for the game Olathe East head coach Jeff Meyers has been shaping his team to play all season. The Hawks rolled out their best defensive effort of the year in holding one of the league's most potent offenses to a mere touchdown. After getting on the board early they were able to defend the lead late.
Olathe East jumped to a 7-0 lead in the first quarter when they put together a five-play drive that was capped off with a one-yard plunge from quarterback John Blazevic. In the second quarter Olathe East put together another nice drive, eight plays in total, to score on a three-yard run from Hayden Frazier. The score gave the Hawks a 14-0 lead heading into halftime.
On SM East's first drive of the second half, quarterback Jordan Darling fumbled the football and Olathe East's Brandon Trinkle recovered in SM East territory. Several plays later the Hawks' Ryan Ahlgren booted a 27-yard field goal to put Olathe East up 17-0.
SM East's next possession resulted in their lone score of the game. The Lancers drove the ball 70 yards in seven plays, and capped off the drive with a one-yard run from Darling. The score made things 17-7, Olathe East. Early in the fourth quarter it looked like SM East was bound for another touchdown, driving all the way to the Olathe East one-yard line. But a Darling pass was picked off by Trinkle in the endzone, denying a score.
The Lancers had one more solid chance to score, driving into Olathe East territory late in the fourth quarter. However, a 22-yard pass completion from Darling to Christian Blessen went bad when Blessen fumbled the ball and Olathe East's Jalen Branson came up with the recovery. The play basically sealed the Hawks' sixth victory of the season, while SM East's season wrapped up with a 7-3 record overall.
Lawrence 34, Gardner-Edgerton 32
We figured it would be a high-scoring game in Gardner. But it would have been hard to script such an exciting contest from start to finish. For instance, the scoring began in the first quarter when LHS' quarterback Brad Strauss handed the ball to Will Thompson who pitched the ball to running back Tyrone Jenkins on a reverse who threw a bomb to Drake Hofer resulting in a 75-yard touchdown. A successful two-point conversion attempt put LHS up 8-0.
Gardner-Edgerton answered back later in the half with a 31-yard field goal from Tim Mitchell. The success on that field goal try may have worked to LHS' favor later on. The Chesty Lions came back a few plays after that with a 63-yard touchdown pass from Strauss to Thompson to go up 14-3. Gardner-Edgerton answered on their next possession with a fast drive capped off by a one-yard touchdown run from Traevohn Wrench. The score made things 14-10, LHS.
On LHS' next possession the Chesty Lions made their way onto the scoreboard again capping off a drive with a 21-yard touchdown pass from Strauss to Erick Mayo. An successful two-point try gave LHS a 22-10 lead. Gardner-Edgerton scored the final points of the half when quarterback Jared Hobby found receiver Jaylon Radel on a 16-yard touchdown pass. At halftime LHS led 22-17.
The Chesty Lions scored first in the second half when Strauss capped off a drive with a two-yard touchdown run to give his team a 28-17 lead. But the Trailblazers were the next to answer, capping off a drive of their own with a three-yard touchdown run from Wrench. They also put in a successful two-point conversion, pulling to within three points at 28-25.
LHS had the ball at the end of the third quarter and scored a touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter on a six-yard pass from Strauss to Thompson. An unsuccessful two-point conversion left LHS with 34-25 lead. Gardner-Edgerton came back with a 23-yard touchdown run from Wrench to make the score 34-32.
Then the drama took itself to another level. On their next possession, LHS was able to drive deep into Gardner-Edgerton territory but Strauss fumbled and lost possession of the ball on a carry which would have gained a first down inside the Gardner-Edgerton 20-yard line. The Trailblazers then drove the ball past the midfield mark but were unable to convert on a fourth-down run from Wrench and turned the ball over on downs with just over three minutes left.
LHS looked like they had sealed the deal when Strauss broke free on a run deep into Gardner-Edgerton territory, but Strauss fumbled once again, and Gardner-Edgerton came away with the ball. The Traiblazers were able to drive 50 yards, gaining a first down in the LHS redzone with under thirty seconds remaining.
Gardner-Edgerton gave the ball to Wrench on first down but he was stuffed on a two-yard run. Hobby spiked the ball to stop the clock on the next play, before on third down his pass sailed through the back of the endzone. The Trailblazers brought the kicking unit out with the hopes of putting through a late game-winning field goal. After LHS iced the kicker on consecutive timeouts, the Trailblazers lined up against a stiff wind to potentially win the game. Mitchell's kick wasn't blocked but it fell well short of the uprights. LHS downed the ball on the next play and the victory was theirs.
In the battle of Simone winners, Wrench finished with three touchdowns and 328 yards rushing on 50 carries. Meanwhile, Strauss completed 21-of-28 passes for 320 yards and three touchdowns.
SM West 34, Blue Valley Northwest 14
SM West was able to exercise some playoff demons stemming from a 2008 Regional loss to Blue Valley Northwest. The Vikings jumped out to an early lead and didn't let up until they put their second stringers in midway through the third quarter.
On SM West's second offensive play of the game running back Brett Sterbach broke loose up the middle on a 63-yard run which he took to Blue Valley Northwest one-yard line. On the next play he took a carry in from one-yard out, giving SM West a 7-0 lead. The Vikings regained possession later in the quarter and put together a nice drive that was capped off with a four-yard touchdown run from fullback Rashaun Owens. The score gave SM West a 14-0 lead.
Just before the half SM West found themselves with a first down near midfield. The Vikes called for a back-breaking play that worked in the form of a 45-yard touchdown pass from AJ Verdini to Andre Maloney. SM West took a 21-0 lead to halftime.
SM West's lead jumped to 34-0 in the third quarter on two touchdowns, a five-yard run from Sterbach and a 26-yard run from Tory Powell. Blue Valley Northwest's two scores came on touchdown runs from running back Reed Coda in the fourth quarter. SM West improved to 9-1 on the season while Blue Valley Northwest finished at 5-5.
Lawrence Free State 38, Olathe North 22
Olathe North's late-season heroics came to an end when they ran into Free State, arguably the league's hottest team through 10 weeks of play. The Firebirds broke the game open early on a 42-yard touchdown run from TJ Cobbs off an option pitch from quarterback Kyle McFarland. Free State forced an Olathe North punt, then put together a five-play drive than ended with a short touchdown run from McFarland. The score put Free State up 14-0.
Free State forced another punt, regained possession and capped a drive with a 28-yard touchdown pass from McFarland to Khadre Lane to go up 20-0. Olathe North showed some life when Venus Triplett returned the ensuing kickoff 84 yards for a score to pull things to within 13. But Free State came back even stronger after that.
The Firebirds put together an eight-play, 57-yard drive that was finished off on a touchdown pass from McFarland to Tye Hughes, putting Free State up 26-7. On Free State's next possession, Cobbs took a carry 66-yards for a touchdown to push the lead to 32-7. After forcing another Olathe North punt, the Firebirds scored their sixth touchdown of the first half on another McFarland to Hughes connection, this time from 15 yards out. The score put Free State ahead 38-7 going into halftime.
Free State pulled the majority of their starters in the third quarter and didn't score again in the game. Olathe North added two second half touchdowns, the last of which came on a 33-yard pass from Dontez Sanchez to Mauricio Chio with 28 seconds left in the game.