Walk off to the title game

Nick Smith/PrepsKC

By Jim Bradford PrepsKC Senior Writer
Posted: November 22, 2014 - 12:20 AM

Sam Huffman took the toss from quarterback Gunnar England, planted his foot and just went as hard as he could.

The Shawnee Mission East senior running back then raced a handful of Olathe North Eagles to the corner of the end zone, converting a two-point conversion in double overtime, propelling the Lancers to their second-straight state championship game appearance.

The two-point conversion sent the Lancers faithful into a frenzy with a 36-35 double overtime win over the Eagles.

It was a fitting end.

Fitting, indeed.

With the two best teams in Class 6A all season squaring off as undefeated teams in the semifinal, you couldn’t have asked for much more.

“I just put my foot on the ground and hit it hard,” Huffman said. “Man, what a (heck) of a game. I’m so proud of this team. I really can’t believe it. I’m speechless.”

Both teams held serve in the first overtime as Wyatt Edmisten went in from one yard out and Cole Murphy went in from six yards out. The extra points by both kickers sent the game into a second overtime.

North opened with a three-yard touchdown run by Venus Triplett. After the extra point, North was up 35-28.

Edmisten scored on a fourth down at the 1-yard line to pull East to within 35-34.

That’s when East head coach Dustin Delaney rolled the dice.

“Someone is going to have to win the game,” Delaney said. “I would rather lose being aggressive than lose by not going for it.

“We even thought about going for two on the first touchdown, but we didn’t because North had a chance to (go on offense after us).”

Delaney and the Lancers were going for the walk-off win.

They got it.

“I’m so proud of these guys,” Delaney said. “Now we have some unfinished business to take care of.”

The Lancers lost I the state title game last year.

The Eagles forced overtime with a Cole Murphy to Chaz Burgess touchdown pass with 43 seconds left on a fourth-and-9 play from the 14-yard line.

North head coach Gene Wier was tempted to try and end it right there, but opted, instead, to get the game to overtime.

“We really thought about going for two right there, but we didn’t have any timeouts left,” he said.

The second half was full of action in a game that was just 7-0 SM East after two quarters of play.

North wrestled momentum away from the Lancers with a thrilling 81-yard interception return for a score by Burgess midway through the third quarter.

The Eagles’ Isaiah Simmons then blocked a Lancer punt on East’s ensuing drive.

The Eagles then went 14 yards in three plays to take a 14-13 lead.

East then answered with a Huffman 48-yard run that pulled them to 14-13 after a missed extra point just a minute into the fourth quarter.

The Lancers then hopped back out in front 21-14 with 4:52 left after Edmisten scored from five yards out and added a two-point conversion.

That set up the Eagles’ impressive 12-play, 80-yard drive that tied the game.

North ends their season 11-1. They are not 10-4 all time in the semifinals.

The Lancers scored the only points of the first half on a 24-yard scoring run by Sam Huffman. The Lancers took the opening kickoff and marched down the field in just a bit more than two minutes. It took them nine plays to go 62 yards gashing the Eagles’ defense for four and five yards a time.

Both team’s defenses were on display the rest of the first half.

The Eagles got one big play through the air, but punted the ball over pretty quickly. East then went right back down the field, inside the Eagles’ 5-yard line before their drive stalled. The Eagles held the Lancers on fourth down, denying them a chance to double their lead.

The Lancers then turned the ball over on downs the next time they got a hold of the ball, then punted it back to the Eagles on their fourth possession of the game.

The Eagles had just 34 yards rushing in the first half and had just 61 yards of offense while the Lancers went for 168 on the ground in the first half and another 16 through the air. Edmisten led the way with 77 yards on 18 carries. He finished the night with 148 yards on 39 carries. Huffman had 129 yards on 12 carries.

East will take on Hutchinson next Saturday in the Class 6A state title game at Welch Stadium in Emporia. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.