Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sub-State: SM East 37, Olathe North 27

SM East's Ryan Carter found the endzone twice
Friday night, helping the Lancers (11-1) to a victory
over Olathe North. Photo KC Star.
Coming into Friday night, Gene Wier had gone 6-0 in his previous six Sub-State appearances at Olathe North. Overall, the Eagles had won nine of their last 11 Sub-State games. What's more, SM East hadn't made it to the Sub-State round since 2001, and Lancers had never advanced to the state title game.  On Friday night all of that took a shift in a different direction.

Olathe North received the opening possession, converted a first down, then was forced to punt. SM East didn't waste much time getting on the board (which proved to be a reoccurring theme throughout the night). The Lancers put together a nice drive and put an exclamation point on things when Luke Taylor took a misdirection carry 37 yards for a touchdown. The extra point gave the Lancers a 7-0 edge early in the first quarter.

The big-play score didn't seem to phase the Eagles, as they were able to match it a few possessions later in the quarter. Venus Triplett scored a touchdown off a direct snap from five yards out on a fourth and goal play, and with that the game was tied.

Later, in the second quarter, a fumbled exchange by SM East gave Olathe North possession at their own 41-yard line, and it looked like the Eagles had a chance to shift the momentum completely in their favor. But their drive stalled and they were forced to punt. On the ensuing possession, SM East quarterback Gunnar Englund found Mitchell Tyler on a 68-yard screen pass to get the Lancers into the redzone. A few plays later Ryan Carter took a carry two yards up the gut for a touchdown, giving SM East a 13-7 advantage following a missed PAT.

But once again, Olathe North responded by sticking to their bread-and-butter of running the football, and they quickly found their way into SM East territory. They found pay dirt when quarterback Cole Murphy dropped back to pass, then ended up scrambling his way in for a touchdown from seven yards out. A successful PAT gave Olathe North their first lead of the night at 14-13.

At that point 3:03 remained on the clock, and it looked like Olathe North might be able to sneak into the half with the momentum. However, SM East put together a late drive that basically shifted the momentum back in their favor for the remainder of the game. The Lancers were able to methodically chip their way down the field before cashing in on a four-yard touchdown run from Taylor with 30 seconds remaining in the half. A successful two-point conversion gave them a 21-14 lead, and the momentum, at halftime.

SM East received the ball to start the second half, and minutes later notched three points when Tyler booted true a 33-yard field goal to give the Lancers a 24-14 lead.

Olathe North was against the wall, but they continued to fight, attacking again and again with the combo of Triplett and Murphy. Triplett broke a long touchdown run, a 39-yarder, late in the third quarter to pull the Eagles to within four points following a missed two-point try.

SM East milked the clock throughout the fourth quarter, and managed to score enough to keep Olathe North at bay. The Lancers added their fourth touchdown of the night when Carter scored on another two-yarder to make things 30-20.

Olathe North answered with a big drive, and another touchdown from Triplett -- this time from two yards out -- with 7:00 remaining in the fourth quarter. The score pulled the Eagles to within three, and they trailed SM East 30-27.

But SM East would finally close the door with a clock-killing drive to end the game, capped by a one-yard touchdown run from Englund. The touchdown gave the Lancers a comfortable two-score lead, then gave Olathe North the ball back with under two minutes remaining. A late fumble from Olathe North was recovered by Carter, effectively ending the game.

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