Defensive dominance

Photo courtesy of Instant Replay KC

By Matt Gerstner PrepsKC staff writer
Posted: September 19, 2014 - 11:09 PM

Piper’s defense was highly regarded as one of the best in the state of Kansas. Unfortunately for Louisburg, they figured out just how good they are.

Piper did not allow the Wildcats into the red zone and pitched their second straight shutout in a 24-0 stifling. The Pirates held Louisburg to just 89 total yards, forced an interception and registered three sacks.

“Our guys played hard and played well together,” Piper head coach Chris Brindle said. “It was a big team win. Our defense got after it. We had a chance to have a shutout the first game, so this week and last week the guys made that a big goal.”

While senior standout Colton Beebe and the Pirate defense smothered the Louisburg offense, Piper’s deep backfield, including running backs Travon Jones, Sterling Owens, J.J. Letcher and quarterback Tyler Banes, rushed for 241 yards.

“We have a lot of things we can do on offense. We can make some plays in the passing game,” Brindle explained. “Sometimes we don’t execute them as well. We’ve still got to improve, especially in the red zone. We have a lot of weapons, and that makes it more fun for the guys.”

The first half belonged to the Pirates as Banes started the scoring with a nine-yard pass to Nate Hays in the endzone after a shanked punt gave Piper a short 33-yard field. The offense started again in Louisburg territory on their next drive, netting three more points on a 42-yarder from Alex Bach. Letcher would take the following drive’s punt down inside the 10, and Jones would go 11 yards the rest of the way, giving Piper the 17-0 after the two-point conversion heading into halftime.

“We’re really fortunate to have the depth we have,” Brindle said of his backfield. “I don’t have enough footballs to go around to all the guys that can make plays, but it’s a good problem to have.”

Louisburg did not gain a first down or cross midfield in the entire first half and did not complete a pass all game despite its own backfield depth.

“We knew they were going to be a tough opponent. We just feel like that’s how we should perform each game,” Beebe said.

Wildcat head coach Kyle Littrell knows his team has a long way to go but says his team will get better.

“You may think I’m crazy, but I’d like to see them again,” he said. “We’ve got to be resilient. If you love the game, you’re ready to bounce back, especially in an early season loss to a team like this. I think this game will only make us better.”

Louisburg actually gave Piper a taste of its own medicine, pinning them back deep in their own territory and keeping the Pirates off the board. That continued until late in the game, when Banes engineered an eight-play, 78-yard drive, ending with the senior quarterback keeping it up the middle for a 15-yard touchdown.

As Piper walked away with its second win against a Frontier League opponent, the Pirates looked to be the conference front runner as they kickoff Kaw Valley League action next week and a potential dark horse in the Class 4A-I race. But Beebe said he and his teammates aren’t looking ahead.

“We take it week by week,” he said. “We face our opponent and just focus on them each week.”

Louisburg will look to bounce back and extend their conference record to 3-0 next week against Paola.

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