Falcons fly past Lawrence

Nick Smith/PrepsKC

By David Svoboda PrepsKC staff writer
Posted: November 5, 2011 - 9:40 AM

Early on in Friday night’s 37-14 Olathe South dismantling of Lawrence in a Kansas Class 6A playoff matchup, an improbable story was unfolding. But then reality, in the form of an increasingly gimpy ankle, set in, and the Lawrence season was finished.
Chesty Lion junior quarterback Brad Strauss, who had missed last week’s 20-0 victory over rival Lawrence Free State with a high ankle sprain, came off the Lawrence bench after one offensive series to spark his mates, going 18-of-24 through the air for 134 yards and one TD before leaving the contest after re-injuring the ankle with 10:22 left in the 3rd quarter.
“We knew that if he did play, that he’d be sitting right there where we wanted him,” South Coach Jeff Gourley said of Strauss, who saw increasing pressure from his second drive on the field until he left it for the final time in 2011.
By the time he exited, the game was over everywhere but the game clock.
That was due to an Olathe South offense that picked apart Lawrence on the ground and with precise air strikes, and a defense that limited heralded Lion back Tyrone Jenkins to 73 yards on 17 carries.
Now, back to that South offense. Junior quarterback Frankie Seurer led the way for his team, going 7-of-8 through the air for 169 yards and 2 TDs. A remarkable five of the seven completions resulted in first downs.
“Frank threw the ball extremely well, and that adds another dimension to our offense when we want to have it,” Gourley said.
But the run game was even more effective, led by Jordan Ward’s 13 rushes for 106 yards and Teddy Colbert’s 7 totes for 126. In all, the Falcons had 349 yards on the ground.
“Our depth is in our backfield,” Gourley said. “With Fritz (Wilbur), Teddy (Colbert), Matt (Elliott) and Jordan (Ward), we’ve got a great group. The kids have great chemistry, and it doesn’t appear as though they care as to who gets the credit.”
It was team chemistry that Lawrence Coach Dirk Wedd was attempting to bolster early in the contest, sending Strauss onto the field with his team behind and wavering a bit in confidence.
Lawrence got a momentary boost from the return of Strauss for the team’s second offensive possession, but it wasn’t nearly enough.
South opened the scoring when senior running back Fritz Wilbur scampered in from four yards out to cap an eight-play, 71-yard drive that made it 7-0 after the extra point kick.
The initial Lawrence offensive possession saw Jenkins with the ball on each play, and opened with him ripping off a 32-yard run. Two plays that resulted in losses followed immediately, however, and after the Chesty Lions were forced to put, Strauss began to test his injured left ankle on the sideline.
South appeared poised to grab a 14-0 lead, but Colbert fumbled near the end of a 40-yard sprint toward the end zone and Lawrence recovered for a touchback and, seemingly, new life.
“I got into him pretty good about it (hanging his head) after the play,” Gourley said of his approach to Colbert. “I said ‘you fumbled, get over it, move on.’”
Colbert’s miscue led to the entrance of Strauss for Lawrence.
The gutty QB engineered a masterful 17-play, 80-yard drive that was capped when he hit Garrett Cleavinger with a 17-yard scoring strike to get the game tied at 7-7 after the PAT kick. Strauss was 8-of-11 on the march, and his team seemed buoyed by his return.
The emotional lift was short-lived.
South scored the final 18 points of the half on three separate scoring drives, each one taking on its own unique characteristics.
Wilbur had an impressive 33-yard run to end the first of the drives, which consisted entirely of running plays – seven to be exact, covering 65 yards in just less than three minutes.
Seurer hit Matt Elliott with a 36-yard catch and run to the end zone to cap the short-field, 40-yard drive that made it 19-7 after the second-consecutive missed PAT.
And Elliott had an impressive 31-yard burst for the final score of the half, which capped a seven-play, 80 yard drive that also included a 30-yard toss from Seurer to Elliott.
It was much the same in the second half, with South scoring the only third-quarter points when Seurer hit Drew Johnson with a 21-yard TD pass to make it 31-7 early in the period. Yep, another missed extra point.
The Falcons’ final points came in the fourth, when Ward rambled 25 yards on a second-and-8 to put his mates up by 30, 37-7. Lawrence tacked on a late TD for the final margin.