By Dean Backes PrepsKC staff writer
Sporting all orange uniforms, Olathe East played keep away from Blue Valley Northwest stand out quarterback Garrett Fugate and ran roughshod over the Husky defense while improving to 2-0 in district play following Friday’s 48-27 win at the College Boulevard Activities Center.
The Hawks (7-1) kept the ball out of the ‘oft dangerous Fugate’s hands by controlling the clock with a running game that amassed over 400 yards and seven touchdowns. Olathe East may have won over some critics in the process.
“Oh ye of little faith,” Olathe East coach Jeff Meyers said following the game. “We were picked to lose this game.
“We keep telling the kids over and over and over each week that they have to have short memories. They did a terrific job of preparing for this game this week. They were intense on being intense.”
Fugate did give the Hawks fits when he had the ball, throwing for 207 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 13 of 25 passing. But the Husky offense held the ball for less than 16-minutes in the game and committed three turnovers of which Olathe East cashed into 22 points.
Blue Valley Northwest did convert a turnover into seven points in the wee moments of the third quarter by recovering an Olathe East fumble at the Hawk 11-yard line. The Huskies scored on the next play when Fugate connected with Austin Swailes, cutting the halftime deficit to 28-21.
But Olathe East won the turnover battle, 3-1, and that allowed the Hawks to put some distance between themselves and their guests.
“We were hoping to get turnovers and control the ball,” Meyers said.
It has become routine for Olathe East to score on its opening possession of the game, and tonight was no different. After forcing Blue Valley Northwest to punt at the conclusion of its initial drive, the Hawks took over at the Husky 47-yard line.
Olathe East running back Kendall Kelly ripped off a 28-yard scamper just before he found pay dirt from three yards out to put the Hawks up 7-0 with 6-minutes, 57-seconds left in the opening quarter.
But the Huskies bounced right back when Fugate connected with Austin Swailes from 39 yards out and Josh Panegasser dented the goal line from five yards away to put the Huskies up 14-7 with 7:05 left in the half.
“He’s just a great athlete,” Meyers said of Fugate. “He can run. He can throw. We were scared to death. And their backs are adequate too.”
The Hawks bounced right back with scoring runs of 14 and 88 by John Kelsh and a five-yard run from Hayden Frazier to go up 28-14 at halftime. Junior Williams interception of a Fugate pass set up Frazier’s score.
Kelley scored form two yards out late in the third quarter to put Olathe East up 34-21 before sophomore Dante Starks answered with a 31-yard scoring reception from Fugate for the Huskies with 2:34 left in the third quarter.
Kelly scored from four yards out midway through the final quarter and again less than two minutes later after Matthew Baltimore recovered a Husky fumble at the enemy nine-yard line to round out the game’s scoring.
Meyers said the crucial district win was truly a team effort.
“We had a lot of people do different things,” he said. “That’s what we want to do.”
In all, Olathe East ran for 403 yards on 64 carries with Kelsh leading the way by running the ball for 170 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 16 carries. Kelly added four scores and 147 yards rushing on 31 carries.
Starks led the way for Blue Valley Northwest coach Mike Zegunis’ air assault by latching onto four balls for 96 yards. Swailes reeled in five passes for 72 yards and Austin Moses caught four strikes for 39 yards.
Olathe East held the Huskies to 65 yards rushing on 19 carries and 272 total yards on 44 plays. The Hawks on the other hand churned out 467 yards of offense on 71 plays and held onto the ball for 32-minutes, 45-seconds.
Meyers wasn’t sure if the Hawks would return in all orange for its district battle against heated rival Olathe South (7-1, 1-1) Friday.
“They’d been bugging me for years to go with orange on orange,” Meyers said. “We wanted to make this an important game. It’s the last home game and it was senior night. We wanted to make it special.”
Blue Valley Northwest (4-4) will take a 1-1 district record into battle against Blue Valley West (3-5, 0-2) Friday with hopes of a berth into the Class 6A playoffs.
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