Very familiar foes

Jeff Stead/PrepsKC

By Jim Bradford PrepsKC Staff Writer
Posted: November 19, 2010 - 12:48 PM



When Olathe North and Olathe East square off this Friday night for a spot in the Calss 6A state championship game, their week 3 matchup will be a distant, distant memory.

 

But both teams will be careful to keep the stunning 25-0 Olathe East victory in the back of their mind — at least.

If the Hawks don’t, they might be sorry. What they did to the Eagles in the third game of the year was masterful. If they want to advance to the state title game, they would be well suited to they replicate that masterpiece.

 

If the Eagles don’t, well, they are in big trouble because whatever they tried that night, when their 15-game winning streak came to a screeching, unexpected halt, didn’t work. Nothing. Absolutely nothing worked.

 

How bad was it? Well, it was only the second time in the history of the storied Olathe North program that the Eagles were shutout.

 

Yeah, if the Eagles don’t remain mindful of the first matchup with East this year, they are doomed to fail once again.

Sure, it’s a new season, but come on, when you have the history between you like these two teams have, there’s a whole lot of what happened in the past rapped up in every game these two teams play.

 

That won’t change this Friday when the two teams battle at the Olathe District Activity Center for the right to represent the eastern side of the state in the Class 6A state championship.

 

A chance for the school’s ninth state title in the last 15 years awaits the Eagles and a first-ever state title awaits the Hawks, who have only advanced past the Class 6A sub-state finals only once, in 2005.

 

With all the marbles on the line, North head coach Pete Flood is hoping that the tide turns on Friday.

 

“I really hope we play better than we did last time,” he said. “But, it was a long time ago.

“We just have to prepare like we have every week and go out there and do the best that we can.”

 

Exactly. That’s the plan of attack for both teams. They know each other so well, it’s hard to come up with something the other hasn’t seen.

 

It’s fitting that the Eagles and the Hawks are the two left standing after 11 weeks of football.

 

They were the two everyone pointed to in week one. Now, they are playing each other with a state title game berth on the line.

 

As soon as the Eagles secured the sectional win Friday night against Olathe South, all of their attention shifted quickly to their next game. While the players shuffled past the coaches and members of the media on their way to the locker room, there was only one question on their mind. “What happened across town?”

 

As soon as they got confirmation of an East victory, the celebration got even bigger.

 

“That’s the game we wanted,” said North senior linebacker Kyle Swartz. “We are really excited about getting another chance to play (East).”

 

The road to the Class 6A sub-state final was not an easy one for either team, despite grabbing the top two seeds on the eastern side of the state.

 

East drew Free State in the first round of the playoffs and went into the locker room at halftime with jaws agape, trailing 16-0. Once they shook the cobwebs out and got back to East football, they rolled in the second half, but a 20-16 win was tough.

 

Last week, East had their hands full with a resurgent Shawnee Mission Northwest team. Oh, and Mother Nature. The two teams were knotted at seven midway through the fourth quarter when Austin Fulson broke free for an 89-yard touchdown run to propel the Hawks to victory.

 

North had their hands full early in week 1 of the playoffs as SM North — a team that won two games all year — hung 21 on the Eagles in the first half. North would go on to win 48-21, but the Indians gave the Eagles everything they wanted for one half.

 

Last Friday, North had just 72 yards of total offense as the rain and Olathe South held the Eagles potent offense in check most of the night. North put up an early touchdown and added a second-half field goal to take a 10-0 lead. A late touchdown by North once the game was in hand provided the fin al points of the 17-0 shutout, in a game that was far closer than its score.

 

So it all comes down to this. Again.

 

The last time theses two teams met in the sub-state final was 2002 and a botched snap on a field goal attempt in the waning seconds kept East from the win and North advanced with a 12-10 win.

 

Will it be that close this time? Who knows, when these two teams get together, it’s anyone’s game.