As Blue Valley’s Michael Allen soared through the chilly November air to pull down a last-second heave from Olathe East’s Austin Berggern, Allen and the rest of his teammates began to celebrate.
And for good reason, Allen’s interception capped off an impressive 24-7 win over the Hawks, helping the Tigers (7-3), advance one step closer to their season-ending goal – a berth in the Kansas Class 6 title game.
“They came out with a lot of juice,” Blue Valley coach Allen Terrell said. “Our kids were excited, they were confident. When you prepare like we have and have had the success preparing it just shows up on Friday night and our kids were ready.”
Blue Valley took control early.
Facing a fourth-and-1 at its own 44-yard line on its opening drive of the game, Terrell called on Beau Palmer to pick up a key first down to extend the drive.
Seven plays later, Terrell’s gamble payed off as Chase Jans capped off the 11-play, 65-yard drive with a 7-yard touchdown run.
Olathe East tried to copy Blue Valley’s success on its first drive of the game, but it backfired.
Facing fourth-and-3 at its own 31, Olathe East coach Jesse Owens showed as if he was going to go for it, but instead decided to punt with Berggern, a punt which was blocked by Blue Valley’s Sterling Smithson, giving the Tigers prime field position.
After a Colin Wood field 43-yard field goal extended the Tigers’ lead to 10-0 midway through the second quarter, the Hawks appeared to generate some momentum from holding the Blue Valley offense out of the end zone.
The momentum slowly slipped away as East, again, failed to convert on fourth down, this time from the Blue Valley 17.
The Tigers capitalized on the Hawks misfortunes a play later as Jake Wolff threw a 54-yard pass to Sterling Lockett which Blue Valley a chance to score just before the end of the half. Two plays later, Wolf did just that as he dove into the end zone with a quarterback sneak from the 1-yard line to push the lead to 17-0.
“Jake has taken every loss and learned from it.” Terrell said of his junior quarterback who completed 19 of his 30 passes for 248 yards and a touchdown. “He’s an extremely mature young man. He’s gotten better every week … The skies the limit for that kid.”
Blue Valley added to its insurmountable lead on the first play of the fourth quarter as Wolff threw a 23-yard touchdown to Tate Gillen.
Need a big play or two to get back into the game, the Hawks wasted no time answering the Blue Valley touchdown as Berggern took matters into this own hands as he scampered into the end zone from 5 yards out to cut the deficit to 24-7 with nine minutes to go in the game.
Blue Valley will face a familiar next Friday when they host Blue Valley North. The Mustangs defeated Gardner-Edgerton in a thriller, 42-41.
Terrell knows it will be a tough game for his team, but they will be prepared he said.
“They are a worthy opponent,” he said. “They are extremely talented. We have our work cut out for us, but they will be up to the task.”