Olathe NW beats Shawnee Mission North
By Rob Ladd PrepsKC staff writer
Shawnee Mission North went punch-for-punch through two quarters with Olathe Northwest before the Ravens ground attack ran past the Indians for a 44-24 Sunflower League victory.
After both teams struggled on their initial possessions, the Ravens used speed to open up big gains on their second drive, and then muscled up to punch in their first score of the game.
The Ravens’ three-headed rushing attack was led by running back Brendan Watkins, who found solid gains of nine yards and 13 yards on stretch plays, before a reverse to Elijah Roland took the Ravens 27 yards into Indians’ territory.
On the next play Watkins broke two tackles before literally dragging an Indian’s defender four more yards to give the Ravens the ball inside the Shawnee Mission North 10-yard line.
The Ravens then turned to 5’8, 197lb battering ram Ashton Avery, who stiff armed a lone tackler before walking into the end zone for a 7-yard touchdown run, giving the Ravens a 7-0 lead.
After stalling on their first three drives, the previously balanced Shawnee Mission North offense began to air it out for big gains.
“They mixed things up,” Olathe Northwest head coach Chip Sherman said, “caught us a little bit off balance.”
Indians quarterback Will Schneider opened their fourth drive with a 10-yard connection to his favorite target, senior Dalton Morris.
Schneider found Morris again on the next play near the line of scrimmage, but relentless downfield blocking from fellow receivers Parker Williamson and Tyler Burnett turned an otherwise pedestrian pass into a 17 yard catch-and-run into Ravens territory.
Four plays later the Indians faced third and 10 from the Ravens 44 yard-line. Schneider this time connected with Taylor Knowles at the Ravens 25 yard-line, where Knowles caught the ball, juked a defender and finished a long and much needed touchdown catch-and-run.
The Indians then opted to go for two, which head coach Ben Bartlett says his team likes to do with their senior quarterback.
“(Schneider) is a tough guy to bring down,” Bartlett said. “He’s a big kid, and he makes good decisions, so we like the ball when it’s in his hands.”
On the two-point conversion Schneider bought time rolling right on a designed play, scrambling just long enough for the Ravens linebackers to move in for the tackle. The decoy worked to perfection, and Schneider lofted a pass over several Ravens defenders to a wide open Dalton Morris, giving the Indians an 8-7 edge.
According to their coach, the Indians like to go for two and they like to onside kick. Shawnee Mission North attempted to take control of the game by kicking onside, but the Ravens were ready and easily recovered the ball at the 50 yard-line.
The Ravens capitalized on the good field position and scored less than two minutes later on an 18-yard catch-and-run from quarterback Easton Crupper to receiver Jesse Rose. Watkins converted the two point conversion to give the Ravens a 15-8 advantage.
Shawnee Mission North, having found it offensive stride, marched 81 yards in three minutes to set up first and goal at the Ravens one yard-line with less than eight seconds left in the half.
Olathe Northwest called timeout set their defense, and successfully stuffed the ensuing quarterback sneak.
Shawnee Mission North then called its final timeout of the half just before time expired. Running back Marcus Garcia rewarded the coaching staff with a touchdown that brought the Indians within one point of the Ravens.
The two-point conversion failed, and the Ravens went into halftime up 15-14. That was as close at the Indians would get.
Shawnee Mission North again attempted an onside kick to begin the second half, and Olathe Northwest again recovered the ball with ease.
The Ravens chewed up nearly seven minutes of clock on their 51-yard scoring drive, making it 22-14.
Olathe Northwest scored on three of their next four possessions, while the defense clamped down and held Shawnee Mission North out of the end zone until the game was well out of reach.
When the Indians finally scored to make it 36-22 late in the fourth quarter, Olathe Northwest’s Watkins responded with an exclamation point, taking the first play of the ensuing drive 54-yards for a touchdown. 42-22 Ravens.
“I saw an opening and I took it,” Watkins said, “I saw a guy on my left and dodged him, saw a guy on my right and dodged him, kept running as fast as I can.”
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