Pirates can’t keep up with Huskies: Slow start hurts Olathe vs. Florence
OLATHE — The Olathe High School football team refused to give up, but Friday night at Wilson Field, the eighth-ranked Pirates fell 35-21 to No. 7 Florence.
“We didn’t execute,” Olathe coach Ryan Corn said. “More than anything, it came down to being able to step right into the game from the start and go.”
Despite losing by two touchdowns, the end result could have been worse.
Olathe found a spark in the fourth quarter, scoring 14 unanswered points after trailing 35-7.
The Pirates changed the momentum with a 47-yard pass from Keifer Wollert to Kyle Piatt that set up Zach Cosper’s 5-yard touchdown run.
Olathe recovered a Florence fumble on the first play of the ensuing series, and three plays later, Wollert hooked up with Taylor Carlson for a 37-yard touchdown.
The Pirates stopped the Huskies’ offense on the next two series, and appeared to be back in the game with five minutes remaining.
But despite solid field position, Olathe couldn’t find the end zone again, and lost at home for the first time in three years.
“We are a better team than what we showed,” Corn said. “But Florence is also one of the best teams in the state.”
Wollert finished 7 of 25 for 147 yards. The senior quarterback is in his first year of starting, and the Pirates’ big deficit early in the second half allowed Wollert to show off his arm.
“Even though we’ve been a predominantly run team in the past, we haven’t had a quarterback like Wollert, either,” Corn said. “But we also have to get our run game going so we can set up our play-action better.”
Wollert’s main target on Friday was Piatt, a senior fullback. Piatt had seven catches for 118 yards and ran the ball 22 times for 99 yards.
Piatt is also a main cog for the Pirates on defense. He made numerous big stops from his linebacker position, including stuffing Huskies running back John Alexander on 4th-and-1 late in the game.
“Kyle Piatt is the heart and soul for us,” Corn said. “When we need to get going that’s who we look to, and I guarantee on Monday those kids are going to respond to the game he played.”
The Pirates were playing their first game in two weeks, and the rust showed early.
Florence opened the game with a 10-play, 64-yard drive that was capped by quarterback Cody Nichols scoring on a 14-yard run.
Olathe intercepted Nichols on the next series deep in Huskies territory, and a few plays later, Wollert tied the score 7-7 with a 1-yard run.
But the Pirates had trouble containing the Florence offensive attack, and the Huskies scored on their next two series.
Florence took a 21-7 lead midway through the second quarter on a Nichols 91-yard run.
“It took our guys a long time to get going,” Corn said. “But those are things we can work on.”
Olathe had an opportunity to answer before halftime. The Pirates found themselves at the Huskies’ four with less than one minute remaining. Two straight runs on third and fourth down were unsuccessful.
“That hurt us,” Corn said. “We didn’t execute in that situation.”
Olathe has a chance to respond next week against Rifle before beginning its Western Slope Conference play.
“It’s the second week and we still have our goals set high,” Corn said. “It’s still anyone’s game.”