Sideline Pass: Jim Bradford 11/17
By Jim Bradford PrepsKC Senior Writer
The big question entering the 2011 season over at Olathe South centered around the lack of skill position players.
Sure, Frankie Seurer, Jr. was back under center and the Falcons were loaded on the offensive line, but what about the backfield and even the receivers?
At first, it was no big deal. Anyone could run behind that line. The Falcons’ offensive line was one of the best lines in the metro and across the entire state of Kansas before the season started. And they’ve gotten better.
That wasn’t going to be an issue. And because of that line, everyone still had the Falcons earmarked as the team to beat even through they had no idea where the yards would come from.
See, last year, Nick Sands and Jake Crist carried the water for the 7-4 Falcons. The Falcons lost those two to graduation, but just about everyone would be back in 2011.
But where would the yards come from?
Well, it didn’t take long to figure that one out.
Enter a new stable of backs, led by Jordan Ward and Teddy Colbert.
As the season rolled along, the Falcons became — just as many expected — one of the state’s best. They rolled to a 7-0 start before stumbling a bit at Blue Valley Northwest, losing by 15 for their first loss of the year.
They have bounced back with four straight wins to stand one win from a state championship and when the going got tough, it was part of that new dynamic tailback duo that stepped up. Big time.
In the final regular season game of the year, the Falcons not only needed to win, but needed to win by 13. Ward threw the team on his back, rushing for 253 yards and a couple of touchdowns as South beat Olathe East by 18 to win their first ever outright Sunflower League title and claim the district title.
Ward was the man, lining up behind that line and letting them open the door to his career high that night.
Well, just two weeks later, he eclipsed that mark in an impressive 55-42 win over Shawnee Mission East in the state quarterfinals, running for 287 yards and five touchdowns in the win.
When the Falcons needed someone to rely on, Ward has been there.
In the last three weeks, Ward has rushed for more than 600 yards.
But he will seldom be looked at as a prototypical breakaway threat or never make anyone’s Simone watch list.
“He’s kind of a quite rusher, huh?” said Olathe South head coach Jeff Gourley after learning that he went for 287 last Friday night. “He may not make a big splash, but he sure does a great job.”
When South needed big plays on Friday night, it was Ward who was there. Seurer handed off to Ward six times on third down Friday night and Ward converted five into first downs and scored on the sixth.
“We had a guy last year in Nick Sands who would was a quiet rusher, like Jordan, but what Jordan gives us is that dimension of breakaway speed,” Gourley said. “He is so good out there and gives us the ability to own the clock.”
Ward is quick to divert the attention and heap the praise onto his line.
“They are the ones who open the holes for me,” he said. “They do a great job.
Well, so does Ward.
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