|AJ Verdini, left, and Andre Maloney|
celebrate after Maloney's fourth
quarter touchdown run. LJWorld.
SM West's second half adjustment to attack with the Wildcat formation, featuring running back Brett Sterbach and combo athlete Andre Maloney, proved to be the difference in this game. The Vikings, who trailed 6-0 at the half, were able to use the formation to grab a second half lead and milk the clock down to zero. Maloney finished with nine carries for 122 yards and a touchdown, all in the second half. Sterbach added 147 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries of his own. The second half performance by the Vikings was stunning because of how much differently the first half went.
Lawrence, who seemed to approach the game with more of an effort to run the football, was on offense for the majority of the first half. The Chesty Lions' offense seemed to click up until they reached the redzone. In the first quarter, quarterback Brad Strauss was intercepted by safety Kez Demby near the Vikings' 10-yard line. Later, just before halftime, LHS' Erick Mayo fumbled a carry inside the eight-yard line, thwarting another potential touchdown. The Chesty Lions also faltered on downs deep in Viking territory on several other occasions.
The one touchdown LHS managed to put up came in the first quarter when they capped off a nice drive with a two-yard touchdown run from Mayo. An unsuccessful two-point conversion put the Chesty Lions up 6-0, and that score carried through the half.
In the third quarter SM West broke out the Wildcat formation from the get-go, and it worked quite well. The Vikings managed to put up 222 yards rushing in the second half, mostly thanks to the Wildcat. The first touchdown came on their opening driving of the third quarter when they marched down to the LHS 12-yard line and Sterbach punched in a 12-yard touchdown run. That score gave SM West a 7-6 lead. They added a second touchdown at the start of the fourth quarter on a 25-yard touchdown run from Maloney, to go up 14-6.
Following that score LHS got the ball back but immediately turned it over when Strauss, forced to his left, threw a pass into the heart of the Vikings' defense where linebacker Marquan Osbey intercepted it and ran it back 34 yards for a touchdown. That score gave SM West a 21-6 advantage.
The clock continued to dwindle, but LHS was able to get on the board one more time with just under four minutes remaining. Strauss (who completed 15-of-33 passes for 218 yards and three interceptions, connected with receiver Drake Hofer on a slant route that turned into a 55-yard score. A successful two-point try left the Chesty Lions within striking distance, down 21-14. That, however, was all she wrote. SM West stringed together 11-straight run plays on their next possession before kneeling the ball to run out the clock.
For SM West, the victory pushed their record to 10-1 overall. They will advance to face Lawrence Free State next Friday in the Sub-State round. It's the second time the Vikings have won 10 or more games in a season under head coach Tim Callaghan, and the third time the program has advanced to Sub-State in his 10 seasons as head coach. For LHS, the Chesty Lions closed out the season with an 8-3 record overall. All three of their losses came at the hands of this year's Sub-State teams, SM West and Free State. The eight wins are the most the program has had in one season since 2005.
|Joe Dineen rushed for 131 yards and 2 TDs. LJWorld.|
A blown call all but crushed Olathe East's momentum just before halftime. Trailing 14-10, the Hawks were faced with a third down and six, deep in their own territory. Quarterback John Blazevic took the ball on a quarterback keeper around the left side where he was met by Free State defender Blake Winslow. Winslow was able to bring Blazevic to the ground (television replay would also confirm this). Blazevic let go of the ball and Winslow picked it up and ran it back 26 yards into the endzone. None of the players on the field, besides Winslow, continued to play, having assumed the play was done. But the officials missed it.
After conversing for several minutes they incorrectly ruled that Blazevic was not down and that the play was good for a Free State touchdown. The score and subsequent PAT gave Free State a controlling 21-10 lead at the half which basically shifted the momentum in the Firebirds' favor.
The scoring began in the first quarter when Free State's Joe Dineen took a carry in from five yards out. Olathe East wasn't able to score on their next possession and they punted to the ball back to the Firebirds. Free State quarterback Kyle McFarland was picked off by Al Smith on the next drive, and Smith was able to return the interception 38 yards to the Free State 17-yard line. Running back Hayden Frazier pounded in a 17-yard score on the next play, which tied the game at 7.
Free State was unable to score on their next possession and punted the ball back to Olathe East. Branden Trinkle took the punt back 40 yards to the Free State 20, and several plays later kicker Ryan Ahlgren booted a 32-yard field goal to give Olathe East a 10-7 lead. Free State came right back with a 72-yard touchdown run from Dineen off an option pitch from McFarland, to jump ahead 14-10, just before the half. What happened next was the blown fumble call, which gave the Firebirds a 21-10 lead going into halftime.
Early in the third quarter Free State turned the ball over again, this time on a fumbled pitch. Olathe East gained possession deep in Free State territory and quarterback John Blazevic ran in a touchdown from two yards out two plays later. The score made things 21-17, Free State.
With the ball in Olathe East's possession towards the end of the third quarter, a Blazevic pass was picked off by cornerback Demarko Bobo. The turnover proved to be a crucial play in the game, as Free State scored several big plays later on a one-yard run from McFarland to go up 28-17. From there the Free State defense clamped down in shutting out Olathe East for the remainder of the fourth quarter.
The victory pushed Free State's record to 10-1, while Olathe East's final record dropped to 6-5 with the loss. Free State will advance to their third Sub-State game under head coach Bob Lisher. The Firebirds previously made it to the Sub-State round in 2006 and 2008.
Free State vs. Olathe East Metro Sports Game Highlights