It was only a matter of time before Olathe West pulled away against F.L. Schlagle Friday, Nov. 2. The Stallions only suit up 22 players. By contrast West brought 26 cheerleaders. It was a close game for two and half quarters, but the Owls wound up with a 49-15 win and their first regional championship in school history.
OWHS found themselves on the doorstep twice in the first half. Schlagle managed two goal line stands stopping the Owls inside the five each time. After a second quarter touchdown and two-point conversion put the Stallions up 8-0, the Owls responded on ensuing kickoff.
“Instincts took over,” senior defensive back Brendon Bolden said of his 80-yard touchdown, “I saw the ball, saw a hole, and followed my blockers in there.”
Bolden picked up a bouncing ball on the 20 and sped through the oncoming defenders untouched. The senior cut towards the left sideline and was gone.
The half would end with the Owls trailing by one.
“We felt comfortable,” Olathe West head coach TJ O’Neil said. “We just didn’t finish drives in the first half. We did pretty well defensively. We felt good going into halftime.”
After halftime both teams scored on their first possession. After that it was all Olathe West.
“We got back to running the ball [in the second half,” O’Neil said. “Eventually it took its toll, and we were able to break some big runs and gain momentum.”
Senior quarterback Zac Krause agreed that the team got back to basics in the second half.
“We just did our job,” Krause said. “The first half we were caught up in the moment. In the second half we just did our job and let the game plan take care of itself. We made those adjustments and came out firing in the second half.”
One of the biggest plays came on the last play of the third quarter. After stopping Schlagle on fourth down, the Owls took over on their own 30-yard line. On the first play Krause found junior Conor Delong for a 70-yard touchdown.
“We saw on film that they were coming up on hitches,” Krause said. “We decided to call a hitch and go. I had to run around and it worked out.”
Krause avoided the rush by stepping up in the pocket. He found DeLong open down the field who evaded the first tackler with a spin move. Then broke one more tackle before reaching the end zone and effectively ending the game.
“All of this is momentum for us,” O’Neil said. “Everything is the first time for us, and this just allows us to keep getting confidence moving forward.”
“Being the first year, this is mind blowing,” Krause said. “No one really thought we would be here. I’m excited. I’m excited for the team, and we will see where this goes.
Where it goes next is a match up against De Soto High School Friday, Nov. 9.