Olathe East runs its winning streak to 4
By Matt Gerstner
Olathe East didn’t have much to play for Friday night at the College Boulevard Athletic Complex.
Having already clinched District 3 in Class 6A winning by the maximum amount of points, the Hawks could have let the visiting Shawnee Mission South Raiders, needing a win by at least 13 points to earn a playoff berth, roll over them with no consequences save for a few people scratching their heads.
Head coach Jeff Meyers, however, had other plans.
“We wanted to be district champs,” he said. “If you want to be champs, you’ve got to play like it.”
Olathe East certainly played like it, as the Hawks used three special teams fumble recoveries and an interception return to assert their dominance once again in a 33-9 throttling of Shawnee Mission South to extend their winning streak to four games and go undefeated in districts heading into the playoffs.
“It keeps momentum in our favor. It’s four in a row for us, and we’re playing good football,” Meyers said. “Hopefully that carries over. We’re excited to play at home next week.”
Heading into the game, Shawnee Mission South found themselves down 12 in the point differential after Blue Valley Northwest blew out Blue Valley North the night before. A win by less than 13 would do them no good.
But two fumbles in the first half would put the Raiders in a deep hole early on. The Hawks recovered loose balls on the 24 and 18 yard line of South, one on a fumbled handoff and another on a muffed punt. Quarterback John Blazevic would find Nathan Guthrie from 8 yards out off the first recovery, and running back Hayden Frazier needed just two carries before finding the endzone to make it 14-0.
The Raiders would get a field goal from Dainan Swoope just before the half to cut into the lead at 14-3. That would be South’s only score, as Olathe East would use the power run game from its big backfield to put the clock in their favor with fullback Ryan Woodson punching it in from six yards out late in the third quarter. Jalen Branson would take a John Prueter pass 81 yards the other way in the final period to shut the door on the Raiders’ season.
“We knew they had a good run defense, so we were hoping to throw on them a little bit, but we made too many mistakes tonight,” Shawnee Mission South coach Ryan Lonergan said. “We felt like we had a good plan, but we just didn’t finish when we had opportunities.”
Branden Trinkle added a 36-yard punt return for a touchdown in the fourth for good measure before the Raiders got their first touchdown of the game with 2:00 on a five yard run from Dalton Lewallen.
“It’s two weeks in a row that we’ve played complete games now,” Meyers said. “Except for a little hitch in our kicking game (the Hawks missed two extra points), I like the way we’re playing right now. It’s encouraging that we can play good football in multiple weeks, especially now that we’re in a do or die situation.”
Olathe East threw just four times in the game, one going for the opening touchdown, another for an interception.
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