Olathe’s game plan not about to change against Kent Denver

Talk about your offensive powerhouse.

If opposing teams are going to stop Olathe High School in the Class 2A state football playoffs, they’re going to have to figure out how to stop the Pirates’ explosive ground game.

Eleven teams have tried and failed to stop the Pirates’ running game this season. That task next falls on Kent Denver (10-1), which hosts Olathe (11-0) at 1 this afternoon.

The Pirates have scored fewer than 50 points only twice in their past seven games; both times they scored 36 points.

“We are trying to learn as much about them as we can,” Kent Denver coach Scott Yates said. “We obviously know they do very well with the running game, so we will try to prepare for that.”

Leading the way out of the backfield is David Rhodes. At 5-foot-9 and 213 pounds, Rhodes doesn’t appear at first glance to be imposing, but the senior running back is one of the leading ground gainers in the state.

Rhodes has rushed for nearly 2,000 yards and didn’t let up in the Pirates’ first-round game, rushing for
248 yards and three touchdowns.

Rhodes will be a different look than last week for the Sun Devils, who survived a second-half comeback to defeat Eaton 39-35. Eaton quarterback Seth Lobato threw for 362 yards and four touchdowns. Kent Denver shouldn’t expect to see those kinds of numbers from Olathe quarterback Garhett Jurgens, whose
main duty is to get the ball to Rhodes and Martin Rivera if he’s not calling his own number.

The Sun Devils will try to fight fire with fire with running back Tyler Jackson, who has had a special season, including a 312-yard, five-touchdown performance last week.

“We have some good running backs ourselves but I think we are pretty balanced,” Yates said. “This is a bunch of young guys who are excited to be in this round of the playoffs.”

While it’s the running game that’s been the bread and butter for Olathe, Class 3A teams have had to worry about the pass against another Western Slope team, Glenwood Springs.

Like Olathe, the Demons are undefeated. Like the Pirates, they’ve also lit up the scoreboard this season.

Glenwood is averaging nearly 43 points a game. Glenwood’s defense is just as impressive. The Demons have given up more than two touchdowns only three times this season.

Dakota Stonehouse is still sifting through college offers. The 6-foot, 185-pound quarterback has completed 63 percent of his pass attempts for 1,918 yards.

The Demons’ strength is that defenses can’t key on one facet of the game. Senior running back Michael Hudson has rushed for 1,339 yards.

Stonehouse’s strength is that teams can’t expect him to stand in the pocket if a receiver isn’t open. He’s tucked the ball and run for 575 yards and 15 touchdowns.

Glenwood, like Olathe, must prove itself on the road this weekend. The Demons, seeded first in the bracket, play No. 9 seed Berthoud.

After earning a convincing 52-10 win over Roosevelt in the first round, Berthoud might be one of the toughest draws Glenwood could have gotten in the second round. Berthoud won the 3A state championship last season and routed Centaurus 40-26 in the first round.

“They are physical, platoon football that is complete,” Glenwood Springs coach Rocky Whitworth said.

“They are hitting on all cylinders right now.”

When looking at the matchup with the Spartans, Whitworth said he looks to turnovers to be a key.

“The key for us is to play as disciplined as possible,” Whitworth said. “Turnovers will be a key deal in this kind of situation when you are playing a team with that kind of experience.”


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