Olathe Pirates set course for 2A playoffs
This year has been pretty dominant for the Olathe High School football team.
Make that really dominant.
Olathe coasted to a 10-0 record, outscoring its opponents by an average of 30 points a game.
The Pirates scored more than 50 points four times and had only one game in which they didn’t score at least 30 points.
Olathe has been just as dominant on the defensive side, giving up a season high of 21 points twice.
The Pirates scored more than 50 points in each of those games.
“Our goals were for the kids to work hard and achieve what we are doing right now,” Olathe coach Ryan Corn said. “We wanted to set ourselves up to play well in the playoffs.”
Corn is in his fifth year as head coach and is looking to guide the Pirates to the first state championship in the school’s history.
The first step is against 6-4 Buena Vista today in Olathe. The Demons qualified for the playoffs last season and, similar to the Pirates, were a low seed but came up with an upset in the first round. Last season, Buena Vista defeated Gunnison 31-6 and Olathe upset Bayfield 30-0 as the No. 13 seed.
This year the Demons earned the No. 14 seed as the second team out of the Mountain Conference.
“Watching them on film, they are a very good team,” Corn said. “Their record is deceiving.”
What is not deceiving is the type of football Olathe plays. The Pirates have run to their perfect record, led by 213-pound senior tailback David Rhodes. Rhodes has rushed for more than 1,700 yards this season and has scored more than 20 touchdowns.
Along with fellow running backs Marvin Rivera, Dylan Markley and quarterback Garhett Jurgens, the Pirates are a run-first team that challenges opponents to stop them.
“We have always been a running team and in Colorado football, you can’t predict the weather or the conditions, so that is why it is important to be able to run,” Corn said. “We look at it as if you can’t stop the run, we will keep going at you.”
If the Pirates get past the Demons, they could eventually see fellow Western Slope Conference opponent Grand Valley, which is on the same side of the bracket.
The Cardinals turned in an 8-2 record and earned the No. 10 seed, which sends them to 8-2 Brush.
Grand Valley is in its first year in Class 2A and had a solid season, losing only one conference game, to Olathe, in the final game of the regular season.
Grand Valley will be taking on a Brush team that qualified for the playoffs last season but lost in the first round to Holy Family. This year, the Beetdiggers won the Patriot Conference. Brush lost its first game of the season to Fort Morgan, the No. 2 seed in the Class 3A playoffs.
The Beetdiggers’ one conference loss came to Weld Central, which did not qualify for the playoffs.
The other WSC team to qualify for the playoffs, Aspen, has potentially one of the toughest draws, traveling to Florence.
This is Florence’s first year in 2A after having a lot of success at the Class 3A level, winning a state title in 2005.
The Huskies are on a nine-game winning streak going into playoffs and haven’t had a 2A team come within two touchdowns all season.
Hotchkiss advanced to the second round of the Class A 11-man playoffs with a 68-26 drubbing of Holyoke last weekend.
The Bulldogs face Yuma (9-1) from the North Central Conference. The Indians finished second behind No. 1 seed Akron, Yuma’s only loss of the season.
Hotchkiss will likely keep the ball in the hands of running backs Ethan Coe and Jake Peterson against a Yuma defense that allowed 40 and 36 points in consecutive weeks to Akron and Highland.
All four games kick off at 1 this afternoon.