Leavenworth gets past Olathe Northwest

By Brent Lager The Leavenworth Times
Posted: September 22, 2012 - 12:27 AM

The Pioneers turned in a statement win Friday in their best-played game of the season. Down two touchdowns in the first quarter, the Pioneers battled back for thrilling 30-23 win over Olathe Northwest.

After looking like the Pioneers of old in the first quarter, Leavenworth came to life in the second, cementing their first three-win season in over 10 years.

Yeah, these aren’t the roll-over-and-die Pioneers people have grown accustomed to.

“This was the kind of game I’ve been waiting for,” coach Kevin Koepecky said. “I wanted to see how we’d bounce back from being down big. It’s a huge win.”

That fact was most evident with the clock winding down in the fourth quarter. The game was locked at 23, and Leavenworth had just been handed a gift — Northwest’s long-snapper sent a punt snap soaring over the punter’s head.

By the time the punter got the ball back, Jason Ammel was in his face and blocked the punt. In years past, the Pioneers wouldn’t have taken advantage of the miscue. Or more likely, they would be losing so bad it wouldn’t have mattered.

Not this team. Isiah Ross promptly broke two tackles and refused to go down on a 41-yard run. Judson Cole then handed it to bread-and-butter Jason Randall, who dove in for the one-yard, go-ahead TD run. Leavenworth 30, Olathe Northwest 23.

It certainly didn’t look good early on. On Leavenworth’s first two drives, dropped passes and line-of-scrimmage runs were the theme. It was too easy for the Ravens while it was still light outside. They scored on their first two drives.

But when the lights at the College Boulevard Activity Center went on, Jason Randall and the Pioneer offense started putting on a show. Contained in the first 15 minutes, Randall broke a 50-yard run into Northwest territory a Leavenworth first down. A few plays later, Randall took a handoff from the five-yard line for Leavenworth’s first score to cut the lead to six (after a 2-point converson).

Leavenworth’s defense stepped up too, forcing consecutive punts. On offense, Randall went right back to work. His big runs opened up the pass. With the defense stacking the box, Cole threw a downfield jump ball for Jeff George midway through the second quarter. The lanky 6-foot-4 receiver brought it down and jogged into the end zone. An extra point gave the Pioneers their first lead, 15-14.

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