Olathe runs into 2A second round
OLATHE — When it comes to high school football, the Pirates from Olathe set their sail with the running game.
Proof comes from senior David Rhodes’ 248 yards rushing and the team’s meager eight pass attempts Saturday in a 55-10 rout of Buena Vista at home in the first round of the Class 2A state playoffs.
Olathe (11-0) scored early and often on its way to a dominant win on the shoulders of Rhodes and fellow senior running back Martin Rivera. Rhodes had three rushing touchdowns and Rivera rushed for 89 yards and three scores.
“This is awesome,” Rhodes said. “We’ve been working to get here for five to six years in the weight room. Our team depends on the running game. We wear down opponents and that’s what we did today.”
Rhodes scored first on an 11-yard run, and the Pirates took a commanding 15-0 lead four minutes into the game when junior Dylan Markley returned a punt 46 yards for a touchdown.
Buena Vista (6-5) scored its first three points on Peter Chambers’ 37-yard field goal, but quickly surrendered another touchdown four plays later to Rhodes — this time on a 14-yard run to give the Pirates a 22-3 lead.
Quick scoring drives allowed Olathe to maintain its lead and keep the clock running.
Five plays after senior lineman JD Jiminez forced the Rebels to punt, Rivera scored to put Olathe ahead 29-3.
Instead of being satisfied with the 26-point advantage, coach Ryan Corn’s Pirates got even more relentless by adding 11 additional points before halftime. Rivera added a touchdown, and with only 27.2 seconds left in the first half, freshman kicker Sergio Salazar kicked a 23-yard field goal to ensure the clock wouldn’t stop in the second half.
“This win was very important for us,” Corn said. “We’re a run-first team, but to be successful it starts with our offensive line. I can’t stress that enough. Our defense (played well), and that will be important in the next round.”
Olathe plays at Kent Denver in the quarterfinals this weekend.
The small-town feel and late fall weather was perfect for high school playoff football, and players from both teams agreed — even Buena Vista senior Larson Greenfield, who played his final high school game.
“It’s great making the playoffs and being able to play one more game that most other teams didn’t get to,”
Greenfield said. “It’s a great experience for the players, coaches and fans. These guys are awesome. It’s a really tough one to play because you never know when it’ll be your last.”
Greenfield limped off the field with 10:53 remaining in the second quarter, but when he returned on the Rebels’ ensuing possession, the shifty running back took a dive 75 yards for a touchdown.
“I want to play college football one day,” Greenfield said. “I’m not sure where, I’m still working on that. Even though we lost, this was awesome.”
Rhodes, also trying to extend his high school career, agreed with Greenfield, saying Saturday’s home playoff game was “full of community support.”
Markley had 76 yards rushing and three receptions for 31 yards, and junior quarterback Garhett Jurgens was 4 of 8 passing for 33 yards.
Salazar, the only freshman on a squad featuring a combined 30 juniors and seniors, has been a dependable weapon this season and proved his worth again Saturday. The 5-foot-7 kicker made four extra points, a field goal and ran in a two-point conversion.
The Pirates rushed for 424 yards on 43 carries, a 9.8-yards-per-carry average.