The strategy for Blue Valley Northwest was pretty simple: Give senior quarterback Jack Knutson the ball and get out of the way. The result was an easy 44-19 victory over Olathe South and the Huskies first win of the year.
Knutson carried the ball on a variety of designed runs and read-option keepers, handing it off just enough to catch his breath between long scrambles and four touchdown runs.
Knutson started things off early with a read-option keeper for 25 yards on the Huskies opening drive. Two plays later he kept it again and ran for a 51-yard touchdown.
“I saw the (defensive end) crash,” Knutson said. “and then everyone over-pursued (left) and the cutback lane was open, and I just took it and rode the wave.”
Knutson’s only mistake came on the next drive, fumbling inside Huskies territory. South’s Jack Murphy recovered the ball at the Northwest 31-yard line.
Murphy promptly took his place in the Falcons backfield, and his coaches rewarded the senior powder keg with the first three carries on the ensuing drive. Murphy gained 18 yards, setting up DaeVonte Nance’s 12-yard touchdown run. The game was tied 7-7.
Knutson carried the ball on all but three plays on the Huskies next drive, with Max Tierney finishing off the 59-yard drive with a short touchdown score to give Northwest at 14-7 advantage.
Both teams exchanged punts before South’s Nance made his presence felt.
Nance took a simple dive play up the middle, breaking two tackles before finding a huge hole on the right side of the field. Nance stiff-armed a would-be tackler in the open field and was eventually dragged out of bounds at the Northwest 14 yard-line.
The 66-yard run gave South a much needed offensive boost, and Nance capped the drive with a one-yard score to bring the Falcons within one point of the Huskies.
“DaeVante is an outstanding running back,” Falcons head coach Jeff Gourley said. “I feel bad that he doesn’t get the glory that he probably should. Our line struggles, but you saw what he could do when he gets some room to run.”
A botched snap resulted in a missed extra point opportunity, and the Falcons trailed 14-13. They wouldn’t score again until late in the fourth quarter, when Nance ran for another long score.
But the game belonged to Blue Valley Northwest and their senior quarterback, who seemed to carry the ball on virtually every play, willing his team to their first victory of the season.
“Every time I see him his face is red,” Huskies head coach Mike Zegunis said, “sweat is pouring off his face, and he plays some defense for us as well! He’s a guy that doesn’t come off the field a whole lot…but he wouldn’t want to come off the field. He doesn’t want to come off the field.”
The Huskies will need another big performance Knutson and company