Olathe North still king of the hill

Jeff Stead/PrepsKC

By Jim Bradford PrepsKC Staff writer
Posted: September 4, 2010 - 2:37 AM

OLATHE, Kan. — Any thoughts of Olathe North having some trouble reloading in 2010 were erased in one play Friday night.

Then another.

Then another.

Adonis Saunders went 77 yards for a score on the first play from scrimmage for North as the Eagles ran all over the Shawnee Mission West Vikings on their way to a 29-22 win at the Olathe District Activity Center.

The Eagles rushed for 231 yards in the first half, hitting the Vikings from every direction. On a night when the Eagles honored their 2000 state title team, it was good old-fashioned North football that let everyone know that rumors of their demise were a bit premature.

North quarterback Victor Simmons had 117 yard on the ground at the half and was one of three North backs to score in the first half.

This game, pitting two of the favorites in the Sunflower League, was over before it ever had a chance to get started. Sort of.

Although the Vikings made the game respectable in the fourth quarter, scoring the final 22 points of the game, the Eagles were in control for three and a half quarters.

“We played three pretty good quarters,” said North head coach Pete Flood. “We just sort of ran out of gas.

“It’s the first game and no matter how you try to prepare, it’s hard to simulate real game action.”

For three quarters, the Eagles did a pretty good job.

With the win, the defending Kansas Class 6A state champions ran their winning streak to 14 games as North was up 19-0 at the half and on cruise control.

Any thoughts the Vikings had at a second-half comeback lasted all of about 20 seconds as Saunders provided a little déjà vu — this time taking a the first play of the second half 72 yards down the left sideline — on the exact same play to the other side —outrunning what seemed like the entire Vikings secondary.

Saunders beat the first wave of defenders to the corner, then cruised down the sideline.

“I saw them coming at me, so I sort of turned it on and took off,” Saunders said.

“He’s got speed and he can (definitely) go,” Flood said.

Simmons capped scored on a nifty 40-yard run with three minutes left in the opening quarter to put North up 13-0 and Kyle Swartz scored the final points of the opening half on a 1-yard run with just nine seconds to play in the second quarter.

“We definitely wanted to get out early and set the tempo,” Simmons said.

The senior quarterback, who is verbally committed to Kansas, finished with a 139 yards on 21 carries. Aided by his two long runs, Saunders led all rushers with 159 yards on just six carries. The Eagles rushed for 351 yards in the win.

North’s Daniel Gutierrez added the final points of the night for North on a 26-yard field goal with 9:37 to play.

Then, just when the Eagles looked like they were going to pitch the shutout and win going away, the Vikings showed some life.

They finally got on the board with 7:33 to play when William Livingston took it in from 36 yards out to pull West to within 29-7.

On their very next offensive play, Armani Williams hooked up with Livingston for a 75-yard touchdown pass. The ensuing two-point conversion form Livingston pulled West with within 14 at 29-15.

Prior to the two big plays from West, the Eagles had held the Vikings to just 121 yards of offense.

The Vikings added their final score with just nine seconds to play on a 5-yard run by Livingston. He finished the night with 92 yards on 19 carries.

“We can definitely take some things from that fourth quarter,” said West head coach Tim Callaghan. “I think the guys might have needed to see this tonight, to know that they have to be ready to play every week.

“I think the guys learned a little bit about defense tonight and what we are going to need going forward.”