Shawnee Mission East senior quarterback Andy Maddox walked to the Lancers’ locker room following the team’s thrilling 35-28 victory over Olathe North with a bit of a limp, displaying some soreness.
But a 99-yard, 8-minute game-winning scoring drive likely makes any bumps and bruises Maddox wakes up with Saturday worth it.
“That was one of the coolest things I’ve been a part of,” Maddox said, holding a game ball, and wearing a smile after the game. “It hasn’t sunk in yet.”
Maddox and the Lancers were a part of a Sunflower League thriller on Friday night at the Olathe District Activities Complex.
After a goal-line stand by the Lancers’ defense early in the fourth quarter, Maddox, coming off two interceptions on back-to-back drives, led the offense to the other end of the field over the course of 18 plays with two plays being particularly key. The first being a 10-yard pass from Maddox to receiver Trey Echols on a fourth down and seven, and then Maddox had a 9-yard run on a third down to extend the drive again. It was all capped by a 1-yard sneak by Maddox.
“You just describe that effort as gutsy,” Hoover said. “He played some with some grit, some toughness.”
It wasn’t the Lancers’ intent to milk nearly the entire clock, but as the drive continued it worked out that way.
“We wanted to try to take a shot at the beginning to get us out of that hole,” Hoover said. “Really, you just take it when you can get it. “
The drive left Olathe North just 20 seconds to force overtime and the Eagles nearly pulled it off.
Olathe North went 68 yards on three plays, including a 38-yard pass from Arland Bruce IV to Devon Stoker to get the Eagles down to the 12-yard line with a second left, but the final pass fell incomplete in the end zone, capping a frenzy of a fourth quarter.
Olathe North tied the game at 28-28 early in the fourth quarter, when Bruce ran it in from 13 yards out. The ensuing kickoff was a high kick and the Lancers couldn’t field it. The Eagles recovered it at the Shawnee Mission East 22-yard line with an opportunity to take the lead.
As had been the case all night, Olathe North used a steady diet of Bruce and senior running back Daymonn Sanchez to get the ball down to the one-yard line on fourth down.
But the Lancers stood tall on fourth and goal, and Maddox and Shawnee Mission East began its game-winning drive from there.
It looked briefly in the first half like the Lancers might take a lead that would be tough to overcome for the Eagles, who rely heavily on the run game. Late in the second quarter, Shawnee Mission East was up 28-13 and receiving the opening kick-off in the second half. But the Eagles showed they weren’t going anywhere. Bruce took the lancers on a 63-yard drive with a minute left, capped by a four-yard touchdown pass to Mario Sanchez to get the Eagles back within 7 after the two-point conversion was successful.
“That was crucial. We have a lot of guys that really compete, and they weren’t going to quit,” Olathe North coach Chris McCartney said.
Aside from the Sunflower League standings, this game will also impact how the two teams are seeded in the playoffs. If the playoffs started next week, the Lancers would be the no. 2 seed in the 6A east bracket, while Olathe North would be the no. 3 seed. If those seeds remain, it could set up a rematch in the quarterfinals of the state playoffs.
“I’d like for them all to be easy so I’m not sure I’d like a rematch,” McCartney said. “It would be a good if we could matchup with them again and have a better outcome.”