Pirates seeing double

Olathe, Bennett are mirror images on offense

Trenton Jole entered the football season as a quarterback for Olathe High School, but moving him to running back resulted in a 1,000-yard rushing season for the Pirates, who play at Bennett today in the first round of the Class 2A playoffs.


Class 2A Football playoffs

No. 11 Olathe (6-3) at

No. 6 Bennett (7-2)

First round, 1 p.m. today,

Bennett High School

Winner advances to play No. 3 Platte Valley or No. 14 Ridge View Academy

The coaches

Olathe: Ryan Corn, 10th season, 76-31.

Bennett: Rick Jacoby, sixth season, 39-23.

About Olathe

■  Only three years removed from a state championship, the Pirates made a trip to the playoffs in 2011 and had a rebuilding year in 2012 before making a return trip to the playoffs this season.

■ In 2010, when Olathe won its second state title in three years, the Pirates beat Bennett 42-21 in the opening round of the Class 2A state playoffs. This is the first time the squads have met since that playoff game.

■ Trenton Jole has been the workhorse for Olathe, amassing more than 1,000 rushing yards this season. Jole is a converted quarterback who struggled under center in 2012 and has thrived at running back.

■ Olathe finished second in points scored in the 2A Western Slope Conference with 250, trailing only Grand Valley (2-7), who had 263 points.

■ The Pirates’ only league loss came against No. 5 Gunnison (7-2) in the regular-season finale. Gunnison kicker Nick Koch drilled a 21-yard field goal with 3.8 seconds left to top the Pirates 25-22.

■ Olathe throws sparingly, but junior quarterback Mitchell Carlson has given the Pirates the option to throw as the season has progressed. Corn said he has been able to add more complex pass plays heading into the playoffs.

About Bennett

■ The Tigers are at plus-14 this season in turnover differential, and their secondary has been rock-solid, with 15 interceptions. Led by junior safety Seth Rodriquez with five interceptions, Bennett allowed only one touchdown through the air this season.

■ Bennett’s defense decimated conference opponents this season, allowing only one opponent, Denver West, to reach double figures. Bennett has three shutouts this season, winning those games by a combined score of 150-0.

■ Jonathan Cretti and Zane Alsdorf lead the Bennett rushing attack. Cretti, a senior wingback, has 697 yards on 84 carries. Alsdorf, a sophomore running back, has chipped in 562 yards on 62 carries. No runner on Bennett averages more than 100 rushing yards per game.

It’s like looking in a mirror for the Olathe High School football team.

Its first-round opponent in the Class 2A state playoffs, Bennett, runs a double-wing offense, seldom passes, and sports a mean defense that will pile on sacks and force fumbles.

Not exactly a game-planning challenge for Pirates coach Ryan Corn, who has built a Western Slope Conference powerhouse with many of the same characteristics.

“Yeah, I mean, we know they’re a hard-nosed, smash-mouth team that is going to run it right at us,” Corn said. “It’s going to be a good old-fashioned smash-mouth game, and we’re very excited about that. We’re going to have to control the clock because their offense will limit the amount of times we touch the ball.”

The sixth-seeded Tigers (7-2) have a brutally tough defense that has given up more than 10 points once in conference games.

Bennett runs roughly 85 percent of the time, with the majority of the carries split between senior wingback Jonathan Cretti and sophomore running back Zane Alsdorf.

Cretti has 84 carries for 697 yards, and Alsdorf 62 carries for 562 yards.

Senior quarterback Tanner Adams has thrown seven touchdowns and only one interception.

He’s averaged almost 15 yards per attempt with 446 yards on 30 completions, so when the Tigers do throw down field, they’ve had success.

What Bennett doesn’t have, however, is Pirates running back Trenton Jole, who racked up more than 700 yards in a three-game span and is averaging 216 rushing yards per game this season.

In many of those contests, he hasn’t played in the fourth quarter, but he still eclipsed 1,000 yards this year.

“He still gets the majority of our touches,” Corn said. “He’s done a great job for us, but really, when a back puts up those kind of numbers you have to look at the line. They’ve done a tremendous job blocking for us and have really grown as the season has gone along.”

The last time the teams met was during the opening round of the 2010 Class 2A playoffs, a game the Pirates won 42-21.

The wildcard for the 11th-seeded Pirates (6-3) is quarterback Mitchell Carlson, who replaced Jole as starting quarterback for the 2013 season.

Carlson has been given an increased workload as the season has gone on, and Corn said Carlson’s growth allowed him to add more passing plays as the season wore on.

Carlson has worked as a team leader in implementing a change-of-pace passing game.

“Mitchell has done a tremendous job growing at that position for us and has done everything that is expected of him,” Corn said. “He’s helped this team grow.”

Kickoff is at 1 p.m. at Bennett High School.


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