Olathe South moves into title game
By Jim Bradford PrepsKC Senior Writer
The trail of red taillights leaving the parking lot from the visitor’s side of ODAC told the story.
Olathe South had just scored their third touchdown of the second half — and there was still two minutes left in the third quarter. Olathe East faithful had seen all they could handle.
Olathe South fans couldn’t get enough.
South rode a strong third quarter and advanced to the Class 6A state championship game next Saturday with an impressive 38-21 win over their cross-town rivals. They will play defending state champion Wichita Heights, a 34-14 winner over Derby in the other state semifinal.
“You know it really came down to who wanted it more and we definitely wanted it,” said South senior lineman Justin Walterman. “You could see in the trenches that once we started to score (all of those touchdowns) in the third, they were starting to give up.”
A relatively close 17-7 game at the half turned into a 38-7 laugher thanks to a 10-minute scoring barrage by the Falcons.
After a quiet first half, Jordan Ward erupted in the second half for three third-quarter touchdowns and 201 second-half rushing yards on his way to 226 yards on 23 carries.
“We tend to wear people out,” said South head coach Jeff Gourley. “We are so athletic and have been a second half team all year.”
Before the Hawks knew what hit them, they were staring at a 31-point deficit and despite a couple of late touchdowns by Kendall Kelly, they were essentially done by the start of the fourth quarter.
“They’ve got some big, strong kids and we were having trouble with them at the linebacker level,” East head coach Jeff Meyers said. “They have great team speed and did what they needed to do.
“We just didn’t have enough weapons (to counter).”
The Falcons rushed for just 89 yards in the first half, but erupted for 308 in the second to advance to their fourth state title game and their first since 2007.
“We had to make some adjustments at halftime,” Gourley said. “We’ve seen what they can do, so we knew what they could do and we thought we knew what they might do.”
Until the Hawks started to add the late touchdowns, the Falcons had their number on defense.
“Wrapping up is a big thing,” said South senior lineman Scott Gourley. “We just happen to be at the right place at the right time and were able to finish.”
The Falcons got on the board first midway through the first quarter when Jared Douglas kicked a 28-yard field goal. The Falcons took over on the Hawks’ 26 after East went for it on fourth down deep in their own end and came up short on their first possession of the game.
Fritz Wilbur scored from 12 yards out to make the score 10-0 just seconds into the second quarter.
East cut into the lead on the ensuing possession when Hayden Frazier took a hand off over the right side and went in for a touchdown from 26 yards out.
The Falcons got a gift hand delivered to them by the Hawks in the final moments of the first half when the Hawks were whistled for a personal foul for roughing the passer 23 yards behind the line of scrimmage on a 3-and-13 play from the Hawks’ 30.
Instead of an incomplete pass and facing a fourth down into the wind, the Falcons were looking at a first and 10 at the 15. They scored two plays later when Teddy Colbert went in from 16 yards out to put South up 17-7 at the half.
“That really hurt us,” Meyers said.
Conversely, the Falcons used the momentum to roll into the third quarter and turn a relatively close game into a rout.
“We wanted a bigger lead,” Braden Smith said about the 17-7 lead at the half. “We wanted to get up by as much as we could and really put the game away.”
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