Olathe South tops Olathe East
By Kyle Palmer PrepsKC staff writer
Olathe South coach Jeff Gourley called Friday’s Sunflower League showdown with Olathe East a “comedy of errors.”
But he can laugh about it because his Falcons pulled out a 14-6 victory for their first win of the season at the College Boulevard Activity Center.
“It looked at times like we had hands covered in buttered popcorn,” Gourley said. “There were times we couldn’t hold onto the ball. But this is a young group still learning how to play together and pick each other up. So I’m happy with the result.”
Indeed, Olathe East had a chance to tie the game late after the Falcons fumbled the ball inside their own 15 with less than three minutes to play.
Down 14-6, Olathe East’s Zac Cahill ran in for what appeared to be a touchdown with just about 90 seconds to play. But the score was nullified by a holding penalty on the Hawks. (In addition, two off-setting personal fouls were called.) Moved back 10 yards, senior quarterback Connor O’Malley flung a desperation heave towards the end zone. He had a receiver open but the pass was broken up the Falcons’ Devin Hall.
“I wasn’t nervous, you know. With the game on the line, I knew the ‘D’ would come through,” said junior quarterback Andres Glenn, making his first start of the season.
For his part, Olathe East coach Jesse Owen liked how his team battled but still felt disappointed at his squad’s earlier miscues.
“We have to force teams to beat us, not beat ourselves,” he said. “We talk things like ball security all the time and what do we go out and do tonight? We put it on the carpet three times in the first half. It’s unacceptable.”
Those early turnovers would prove to be decisive. The Falcons converted two Olathe East fumbles in the first quarter into their only two touchdowns. Both scores came on runs by senior running back DaeVonte’ Nance.
The first score was a 45-yard sprint down the left sideline on the play immediately after Olathe East’s Brett Kelsh coughed up the ball. The extra point was missed, and the score stood at 6-0.
“I was feeling it early,” Nance said. “The line was working hard for me. We really wanted this one after last week.”
The Falcons dropped their season opener to Hutchison 48-14.
On Olathe East’s very next drive, senior Braden Wingate fumbled the ball inside his own 30. The Falcons picked it up and returned it to the Hawks’ 12.
“I thought that was going to be a scoop and score,” Gourley said. “I really did. We had a nose for the football early. That’s what we emphasize: taking advantage of big plays.”
Though they didn’t score on the turnover itself, the Falcons pounded it in for their second touchdown a few plays later, this one a hard-fought five-yard dive by Nance. Kameron Barnes added a run for the two-point conversion to make it 14-0.
“It’s good to hold a team to 14,” said Owen, “but you can’t usually win a football game scoring only 6.”
The Hawks got on the scoreboard mid-way through the second quarter when Kelsh stormed in from the one to cap off an efficient, crowd-pleasing 71-yard drive. The Hawks botched the snap on the extra point so the score was 14-6 going into the half.
Neither team would score in a second-half dominated by missed opportunities.
Olathe South cobbled together an eleven-and-a-half minute drive that spanned the third and fourth quarters. But with eight minutes to go in the game, the Falcons missed a short field goal that would have made it a two-score game.
The Hawks quickly got the ball back after forcing Olathe East to punt, and it appeared Olathe South was in control with the ball and the clock on their side. But then the Hawks’ fumbled, Olathe East junior Parker Brewer recovered at the 12, and that set up the final wild sequence.
Asked if he agreed with the penalties called on the final critical drive, Olathe East’s Owen said, “I have no beef with the refs. They did their job.”
The Hawks had another earlier score wiped out by a penalty. A first quarter punt return for a touchdown by Cahill was called back for a targeting penalty on Olathe East.
A “comedy of errors” maybe, but only one team thought it funny in the end.
Olathe South will try to sustain its momentum against Olathe North next week. Meanwhile, Olathe East will continue to look for its first win at Shawnee Mission South.
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