Olathe North gets last say against Shawnee Mis­sion East

The Kansas City Star - - Sports - BY TODD EN­GLE Spe­cial to The Star

Day­monn Sanchez’s 40th carry on a bit­terly cold Fri­day night meant just a lit­tle bit more to him and ev­ery­one stand­ing on the Olathe North side­line.

So the wiry se­nior run­ning back jumped up and punc­tu­ated it by scream­ing and bang­ing his fist across his chest three times.

All heart.

That run was the fi­nal blow in Olathe North’s 24-21 vic­tory over Shawnee Mis­sion East in the Class 6A sec­tional at Shawnee Mis­sion North District Sta­dium.

Olathe North won with­out pre­tense. The Ea­gles (9-2) won by run­ning the foot­ball with­out com­pas­sion or re­morse. Its fi­nal drive was foot­ball’s ul­ti­mate ver­sion of stop me if you can.

Shawnee Mis­sion East (8-3) knew it was go­ing to see ei­ther Sanchez or Olathe North quar­ter­back Ar­land Bruce IV run­ning straight ahead. The Lancers knew they needed a stop to try to ex­tend their sea­son.

Olathe North re­fused, grind­ing the last 6:12 off the game clock to ad­vance to a sub-sec­tional date with Blue Val­ley North next week.

“The fourth quar­ter, we just kept the mo­men­tum,” Sancehz said. “We just kept push­ing it for­ward, get­ting first downs and run­ning the clock on them.”

Sanchez fin­ished with nearly 300 yards and a touch­down. His 72-yard romp early in the fourth quar­ter gave the Ea­gles the lead just sec­onds af­ter re­lin­quish­ing it.

Sanchez and Bruce, who ran for over 100 yards him­self, com­bined to put the game away.

“We’ve been able to come to­gether, and dur­ing prac­tice we’ve been fig­ur­ing things out and try­ing to bet­ter our­selves,” Sanchez said. “We’ve got to get up early (this) morn­ing to go to foot­ball. Ev­ery day we’re work­ing.”

It shows. The Ea­gles avenged a week 6 loss to SM East.

“The last time they drove it down and stuck it in when they needed to, and for­tu­nately we had the ball at the end,” Olathe North coach Chris McCart­ney said. “Our guys re­mem­ber that. We had the score of the game on the score­board at the prac­tice field all week long. It was up there when we were in school.”

There were also a few bad play­off mem­o­ries that the Lancers doled out in pre­vi­ous years.

“There’s a his­tory here,” McCart­ney said. “We got beat (at sub­state) in 2013 and ‘14. They had a run­ning clock on us. It’s been ugly. To get where we’re able to com­pete with them and fi­nally take one from them is nice.”

Olathe North got off to a near per­fect start in the first half, dom­i­nat­ing time of pos­ses­sion and me­thod­i­cally build­ing a 10-0 lead.

Things seemed to get bet­ter when the Ea­gles pinned Shawnee Mis­sion East in­side its own 5-yard line in the fi­nal min­utes of the first half.

The Lancers re­sponded with a 97-yard drive, capped off by the first of quar­ter­back Andy Mad­dox’s two touch­down passes.

Shawnee Mis­sion East seemed poised for a break­through when it ral­lied to take the lead early in the fourth quar­ter.

That’s when Olathe North’s run­ning game and one fi­nal stop from the de­fense put the game away.

The Ea­gles will need more of their ball con­trol for­mula for next week’s game against high-oc­tane Blue Val­ley North and quar­ter­back Gra­ham Mertz.

The Ea­gles would be wise to hold the ball for ev­ery pos­si­ble sec­ond next week, and they have the pa­tience and per­son­nel to do just that.

SU­SAN PFANNMULLER Spe­cial to the Star

Ar­land Bruce IV of Olathe North tried to avoid Gar­ret Boschen (left) and Tyler Stot­tle (3) of SM East.

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