Olathe North roughs up rival Olathe South
By David Svoboda PrepsKC staff writer
Cole Murphy refers to Venus Triplett as his “brother from a different family.”
On Friday night, the pair of Olathe North “siblings” put on an offensive show in leading the Eagles to a dominant 28-0 win over rival Olathe South in the final game of district play.
The juniors each accounted for two touchdowns – with Triplett’s coming on the ground and Murphy’s coming from his strong right arm.
And North Coach Gene Wier liked the balance the duo helped provide the Eagle offensive attack.
“We probably should have thrown more, but we felt pretty good about the way we were running the football,” he said. “We can throw the football. Our quarterback is a talented player.”
On this night, South was thus forced to pick its poison.
Murphy was 8-of-12 for 97 yards and the two touchdowns through the air, and had 48 additional yards on the ground on 12 carries.
But it was Triplett, who ripped off 200 yards on 32 carries – including touchdown scampers of 23 and 43 yards – who was the brightest star for the Eagles.
“Venus is a good football player. He’s still learning and growing, but he’s capable of breaking a big run at any time,” said Wier, who saw his squad move to 6-3 overall and finish district play at 2-1.
Triplett’s biggest fan might be the guy handing him the ball.
“We’ve bonded really well,” he said of the relationship between quarterback and tailback. “Last year I didn’t have many games with him, but this year, it’s been nine games straight so far and I hope to keep playing with him.”
If North is indeed to continue its march in the postseason, it will be on the strength of that potent offensive duo, and on the power of its defense, which blanked South, which ended its year at 5-4 and 1-2 in district competition.
Wier knows the defense was and will be big.
“Defense is what you have to build your team around,” he said. “We have a good front group, and we have a good linebacking group. And our secondary has gotten better each week.”
That defense limited South’s talented duo of quarterback Jake Seurer and tailback Kyhiem Matthews to sub-par performances. Seurer was just 2-of-10 passing for 34 yards, and threw three interceptions. Matthews struggled for each of his 72 yards on 13 rushing attempts.
North dominated the contest from the outset, and overcame a lull in the second quarter offensively to garner its second-consecutive win over the Falcons.
The Eagles took advantage of a short-field opening drive to grab the early 7-0 edge when Triplett raced down the home sideline for the aforementioned 23-yard TD. His effort capped a six-play, 48-yard ground attack that saw the “brothers” carrying the ball on each play.
After a poor South punt once again left the Eagles with great field position, Murphy hit senior Mauricio Chio with a 10-yard TD strike to make it 14-0 with just less than five minutes remaining in the opening quarter.
The rout, it appeared, was on.
But North showed some of its youth from that point until the end of the half, failing to score again before intermission and taking the 14-0 lead to the locker room.
“We’ve done that too much this year, to be honest,” Wier said of his team’s offensive struggles over the final 15-plus minutes of the half. “We get a penalty or some setback, and we just don’t rebound. We still have a young football team, and they are still growing and learning.”
North took its opening drive of the second 24 minutes in for a score as well, with Triplett’s 43-yard effort capping a four-play, 54-yard drive that was kept alive by a personal foul penalty on South on a 3rd-and-11 play that might have forced a North punt.
Wier was not surprised by his team’s ability to regain its focus and grab the 21-0 advantage.
“We knew the task at hand, and we knew that they (South) weren’t going to lie down,” he said. “I thought we did a nice job in the second half.”
North’s final drive of the game was capped by a second connection between Murphy and Chio, this one for 13 yards to top off an eight-play, 47-yard march.
Olathe North will continue its season Friday at Blue Valley Northwest in the first round of the Kansas 6A playoffs.
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