Dominant Pirates move into quarters
OLATHE — Going for it on fourth down is a gamble for any football team.
But on the opening drive of Saturday’s 43-13 Class 2A first-round playoff win against The Academy, Olathe coach Ryan Corn had plenty of faith his team would play its cards right.
On the fourth play of the drive, the Pirates converted on fourth-and-one when quarterback Ben Kaylor kept it on a sneak for one yard.
Then, on the last play of the drive, Corn had them try it again on fourth and goal from the 6.
That time, Willy Corey took a pitch on an option to the right side and ran it in for the Pirates’ first touchdown.
Corn made the choice because of his confidence in his offensive linemen.
“We put the ball basically in their hands, on their shoulders, and they want it,” he said. “They want to go for it on fourth and that’s what we love.”
The drive set the tone for the rest of the game as the aggressive Pirates moved the ball consistently on offense and forced seven turnovers defensively.
“I think it set the tone by showing them that we could have the long drive and we weren’t going to give up,” running back Cole Grett said about the fourth-down conversions.
Although Olathe allowed 223 yards of offense, the Pirate secondary shut down Academy’s passing offense. Quarterback Riley McGiboney was 0 for 6 with four interceptions.
After the score on the opening drive, the Pirates didn’t score again until the final five minutes of the second quarter, when they scored twice with the help of a fumble by Academy.
Olathe’s first touchdown in the span was a two-yard run by Ronnie Mumm to make it 14-7 with 4:19 left.
Linebacker Troy Rose then picked up a fumble by The Academy on the first play of the ensuing drive.
Starting at the Wildcats’ 36, the Pirates scored on seven plays. The drive finished on a pass from Kaylor to Carston Byers that tipped off the hand of a defender before Byers came down with it with 1:28 left in the half.
A conversion run by Mumm made it 22-7.
Olathe finished the half with 190 of its 300 yards of total offense.
Grett rushed for 67 of his 73 yards in the first half, Corey 40 of his 86.
Olathe’s defense forced turnovers on each of Academy’s four drives in the third quarter.
Joe McCracken recovered a fumble and Kaylor intercepted a pass to give the Pirates the ball at Academy’s 34.
The play led to a 3-yard touchdown run by Corey for a 29-7 lead.
On Academy’s next series, Rose intercepted a ball at the 40 and returned it to the 10. Two straight runs by Corey resulted in a touchdown and 36-7 lead.
Taylor Carlson had Olathe’s final interception, when he picked off McGiboney at Academy’s 34.
The interception set the table for Olathe’s final score a 13-yard run by Kaylor with 11:53 in the fourth quarter.
The majority of the Wildcats’ offense came from running back Barron Underwood, who had 185 rushing yards and scored both of Academy’s touchdowns.
He had 96 yards rushing in the first half, largely because of a 60-yard touchdown run up the middle to tie the game 7-7 with 10:28 left in the second quarter.
Kaylor went 7 for 13 passing for 63 yards and had 23 rushing yards.
Olathe, the defending Class 2A state champion, travels to top-seeded Brush this weekend for the quarterfinals.
Brush defeated Lamar 41-12.