Pirates’ second-half defense pitches shutout vs. Huskies

Kyle Piatt, right, and the Olathe defense were the difference-makers Saturday in the Pirates’ 24-20 victory over Florence, including this forced fumble in the first half.

OLATHE — It’s one thing to know what has to be done.

It’s another thing to actually do it.

The Olathe High School football team faced one of the best running teams in Class 2A in the Florence Huskies on Saturday in the state semifinals at Wilson Field, and shut them down in a 24-20 victory.

Florence proved it was a dominant running team by rushing for 265 yards against the Pirates in a 35-21 victory in the third week of the season.

This time, Olathe (11-2) forced two turnovers and limited the Huskies to 197 rushing yards. Florence quarterback Cody Nichols was limited to 65 yards after running for 132 against Olathe in the first game.

“They just made plays,” Florence coach Mark Buderus said. “We couldn’t block them. We weren’t good enough to block them. When it comes down to this point, you’ve got to want it more than the other guy. They wanted it more and it showed.”

The Huskies (12-1) came out and ran the ball successfully on their first drive, taking a 7-0 lead, but Olathe shut Florence down after that.

“We’re a smart team,” Corn said. “For us, we have to figure out what we’re doing a little bit. The first series, we were on our heels and couldn’t quite figure it out. Come the second series, we made the adjustments we needed to and that was the big difference.”

All it took was mixing up the formation.

“We’re not the kind of team to give you the same look every time,” Corn said.

Florence was able to complete a couple of long passes, one for a 65-yard touchdown and another to set up a score. Both came right before the half and got the Huskies back in the game at 21-20.

That was it for Florence, though.

Olathe shut out the Huskies in the second half, limiting them to 50 yards in total offense and two first downs.

“We went in at halftime, made some adjustments,” Kyle Piatt said. “Everyone was playing hard.”

The pivotal play came early in the fourth quarter when Florence had a fourth-and-three at the Olathe 18.

Florence senior John Alexander took the pitch to the right, but lineman Cody Harrison tackled him short of the first down.

“You take away the big plays, and I think our defense really stopped them today,” Corn said.


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