Making lots of noise in a quiet way

Jeff Stead/PrepsKC

By Brian Spano PrepsKC Staff Writer
Posted: October 24, 2010 - 10:26 PM

Adonis Saunders stands just under six feet and weighs a little more than 180 pounds. The Olathe North senior running back is as solid as they come, but what stands out most is his quiet demeanor off the field.


It’s when he’s on the field that his personality changes. This isn’t a Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde act. This is a high school kid who is all business on the field, but is as humbling and non-assuming off of it.


Saunders is part of the dual rushing attack along with his quarterback Victor Simmons for the defending Class 6A state champion Eagles.


The two have played football together since their freshman year and have known each other since fifth grade when they first met while running track.


“Victor and Adonis are going to carry the load for us,” Olathe North head coach Pete Flood said, “And they want to. It’s that time of year, and they’re the ones we’re going to lean on.”


Saunders has rushed for more than 1,089 yards so far this season behind a stout offensive line. He has scored 14 touchdowns on the ground through eight games. Of those 14, nine have been for 30 yards or more.


Listen to these gaudy stats: Adonis has touchdown runs of 77, 72, 79, 61, 49, 80, 33, 67 and 77 yards. There’s been a 38 yard pass for a score thrown in there as well. On top of all that, he is averaging 9.6 yards per carry. He gives all the credit for his success to that offensive line. For his Olathe North career, Saunders has nearly 1,500 yards rushing for a staggering 9.7 yards per carry.


“We have one junior on there and the rest are seniors, and I would definitely take those guys over anyone in the state,” Saunders said of his blockers.


As successful as Saunders is on the offensive side of the ball, he is just as big of a play maker on the defensive side of the ball as a defensive back.


This season, he has 36 tackles and two interceptions and nine pass breakups. Saunders has a career total of 90 tackles, eight for a loss and three picks.


During the Eagles second district game against Lawrence Free State, Saunders intercepted a ball deep in Free State territory to stifle a drive and also broke up a couple of passes.


“I’m not too big on picking a specific position, I just do whatever helps out the team,” he said. “Last year I played H (halfback) and loved playing H. I also played safety, and I loved playing safety. It’s not like I like one better than the other.”


Saunders and his fellow Eagles have one goal in mind, and that’s to get back to the state championship for a chance to repeat. The team is so close to winning the Class 6A, District 4 title with a final game remaining against Olathe Northwest, so the first step is almost complete.


“This season has been a grind since last year,” he said of the hard work that he and his team have put in. “The only thing that we get reminded of is being the 6A state champions, but that’s last year. We’re trying to make our own little legacy as seniors this year. We’re just trying to come out here and do what we do.


“I can honestly say that we have worked harder than I don’t know what this year. It’s no time to sit back as defending state champions, and I think that’s how we lost to (Olathe) East. We kind of got a little bit too relaxed, and then they came out and out and smacked us in the mouth, so we fell back into what we were doing last year, working harder and still hitting it.”


Saunders is still undecided about where he will attend college next year, but he does have many options to choose from. Currently, he is looking at Nebraska, Kansas State, Missouri, Kansas, New Mexico State, North Dakota State and South Dakota State.


“He’s a strong kid, he’s worked hard in the weight room and he has good speed,” Flood said of his star running back. “We’re getting better up front, and that helps him too. His numbers are better later in the year as we solidify a little bit better up front. He has good vision and is able to see the seams.”