BV North pounds Gardner-Edgerton
By Ryan Wallace PrepsKC staff writer
For the second week in a row, Blue Valley North is rewriting the history books and leaving the mark of 2015 along the way. Last week, it was the Mustangs upsetting rival Blue Valley for the first time in well over a decade. This Friday night, the milestone was streak snapped was even bigger though- winning at least a share of the league championship after a 42-7 road win at Gardner Edgerton.
“It’s very significant,” said an elated head coach Andy Sims after securing the school’s first league title since 2000 under Don Simmons. “That’s something we put in our preseason goals.”
“It’s kind of a catch-22 though because you don’t want to tell the kids not to celebrate because this is something we should celebrate,” expanded the ___ year head coach. “It’s not like this doesn’t matter because it does matter. The thing is, we aren’t a perennial power and we aren’t the type of team that can say we just need to beat that one guy. We’ve really had to take it week by week and, because of that, I think it’s allowed us to really focus on the process and be able to handle these situations.”
Taking the field loose despite the surrounding pressures facing down, it was clear that any possibility of last week’s aftereffects still lingering on the Mustangs was a poor assumption.
On the opening Trailblazers drive, it was the Blue Valley North defense that would force and recover a Keegan Michael fumble. From there, the game was senior quarterback Joey Dolan’s to lose.
“Incredible,” said Dolan of his offense, in particular a deep batch of receivers that allowed him to toss for 246 yards. “Alex, Josh, Charlie, Jackson… Cooper even made some really good catches tonight. All I have to do is throw it up to them. I just have a ton of trust in that area because I’ve been throwing their way for years.”
Passing for four touchdowns in the first half alone, Dolan’s sensational career continues to finish out on a high note. Working the spread offense to perfection, Dolan constantly worked the flats against the Gardner Edgerton defense, allowing his receivers to do further damage after the catch.
Leading the charge was 6-foot-5 senior Josh Pederson, who has become a favorite target of Dolan’s over the last several weeks. After a short five-yard touchdown reception to make it 7-0 early, Pederson would again grab his second touchdown on a tight-spiral, 41-yard pass play before half. Not to be out shined, Dolan also spread the wealth to fellow seniors Alex Blake and Charlie Brock as each pitched in first half touchdowns of their own.
Across the field, Marvin Diener, now in his tenth year leading Gardner Edgerton, and the Trailblazers made it known early on that they would prefer to keep Dolan and company off of the field. Using the sophomore Michael in addition to junior Kolbee Finnell, the now 1-5 squad made an attempt to wear down the oft-overshadowed Mustangs defense by working the ground. In fact, the home team didn’t even attempt a pass until four minutes prior to half. Michael’s 22 attempts for 99 yards would highlight a rough outing for Gardner Edgerton though, as the Blue Valley North defense surrendered just 146 total yards in front of the opposing homecoming crowd.
“In the past years, our defense would just get run over,” stated senior defensive back Jack Gordon, who set the school’s all-time tackles mark in the win. “But we put in work this summer and hit our technique in all aspects. Our defense has really turned it on and it’s exciting, but it’s a team win and that’s all I’m focused on right now.“
“Before the season began, we sat down as a staff and looked at the type of guys that have the right mentality,” added Sims on his rising defense. “Guys that can play hard for four quarters, who aren’t selfish about getting names in the papers and identified those players. Now, we had those guys on offense returning but I think on defense we hit a home run in terms of those guys and watching them gel. We have a good group that plays well as a unit. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
Thanks to the defensive dominance, the veteran laden Mustangs were able to carry momentum into the second half and eventually rest key members down the stretch. Senior running back Cooper Lantefield capped off a second straight week utilizing both his feet and hands, tallying 91 total yards in all with numerous gains coming on key downs. Then, with 1:17 left in the third quarter, Blake would dazzle fans with an outstretched, 45-yard touchdown reception in stride, allowing Sims to ‘call off the dogs’ and look ahead at what could become a special postseason.
“All of this is good and well and I’m loving it and the kids are loving it, but it all ended tonight,” finished Sims, who will prepare for the first district contest next Friday at Shawnee Mission South. “Playoffs start next week in our mind.”
“The community is just changing overall,” commented Gordon last before heading to the bus. “Mustang football has never been about a winning program. As Coach Sims has come in and developed our program, it’s made a football community and that’s something to be proud of.”
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