After slow start, Olathe Sailors run like champions
OLATHE — David Rhodes and the Olathe High School football team are a little like that old family truck in the yard.
It takes them a while to start up, but once they do, they run like a champion.
The Pirates got 202 yards rushing and one touchdown from Rhodes on Friday night as they defeated Roaring Fork 35-9 in their homecoming game.
Although the Pirates (4-0, 1-0 Class 2A Western Slope Conference) got on the board quickly, it took a while for the offense to get kick-started.
Olathe’s Zach Cosper took the opening kickoff up the middle 84 yards for a touchdown and the Pirates were in business — at least on special teams.
“That’s one aspect of the game we’ve wanted, and those kids are putting a lot of stress on it,” Olathe coach Ryan Corn said.
Neither offense could muster much in the first quarter, however. Then Rhodes shifted gears.
The 5-foot-9, 212-pound junior tailback, who at one point had eight consecutive carries in the second quarter, got the Pirates’ offense moving, though they scored on a 23-yard pass to Dylan Markley and a 4-yard run by Marvin Rivera in the first half.
Roaring Fork’s lone bright spot came near the end of the first half, when Dana Holley took a pitch and lofted a halfback pass downfield to Michael Black for a 72-yard score.
Still, Olathe led 21-9 at the half. In the second half, they gave the ball to Rhodes more.
“I’ll never turn down a chance to carry the ball,” Rhodes said.
He answered the call 30 times, including a 31-yard run around right end for the game’s final score in the fourth quarter.
“They’re a little slow at picking up (opposing defenses),” Corn said of his offense. “Once they get going, it’s OK.”
For Rhodes, it was his first 200-yard game.
“In the second half I seem to wear guys down,” he said.
Part of Olathe’s problem was in stopping itself. The Pirates fumbles six times, losing four of them, and committed 11 penalties, most of them false starts.
“We’ve got to really tighten down in those areas,” Corn said.
“We’ve got to keep (the ball) in there tight,” Rhodes said of what he perceives as an easily fixable solution to the fumbling.
“Now we’re in it,” Corn said of hitting the heart of the WSC schedule.
Although he sees some definite areas that need to be addressed, “We’re getting there,” he said.