Rebound season continues for Olathe
OLATHE — At this point one year ago, the Olathe football team had fallen to an uncharacteristic 0-6 after a 23-0 loss to Basalt. The Pirates surprised the Class 2A Western Slope Conference with a down year for the traditionally successful program.
This season, Olathe is back on top.
With a 34-0 win over Basalt on Friday, Olathe moved to 4-0 in conference play and now sits atop the conference.
Coach Ryan Corn said the Pirates’ goals lie beyond the conference standings.
“We’re very much a week-to-week team,” Corn said. “I’m not worried about it. If we take care of things week to week, the conference will take care of itself. Our goals have always been past conference. Our goals are beyond.
“I mean, you look at where we were last season and where we are this season, and it’s night and day. These kids are willing to put in the work, and the results are what is being shown. We’re just focusing on next week and doing our thing.”
What Olathe’s “thing” is has evolved as the season has progressed. The emergence of quarterback Mitchell Carlson as a legitimate offensive weapon for the Pirates (4-2, 4-0 WSC) has led to Corn working in more passing sets. Seven pass attempts against Basalt is a lot by Olathe’s usually run-heavy standards.
“We believe in the run, and we stick with the run,” Corn said. “But as we progress we know we have to add in some pass plays. It’s just a progression that we’re working on, and we know that we need to be able to throw a little bit to be successful.”
Carlson completed four passes for 36 yards.
The sophomore said Corn preaches solid technique in the passing game.
“Right now we’re really just working on form and making sure the receivers run solid routes,” Carlson said. “Our line’s playing really well, and we’re just practicing really hard so we can have fun on Friday nights.”
The Pirates’ offense was led by Trenton Jole and Rio Green, who each had a pair of rushing touchdowns. Green scored on runs of 4 and 21 yards. Jole had scores from 5 and 15 yards out and finished with 101 yards on 13 carries.
It was on defense that Olathe dominated Basalt (0-6, 0-4 WSC). The Pirates forced five fumbles, recovered three of them, and snagged two interceptions.
Mario Hightower had Olathe’s final score with a 20-yard interception return for a touchdown.
“I feel like for the most part they played well,” Corn said. “More than anything our defense played good role-position ball and just stayed in their spots. They tackled well and played disciplined defense.”
For Basalt, Matt Williams led the way offensively. After being temporarily benched in the second quarter after an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, Williams ran for 92 yards on 13 carries in the second half. He also caught one pass for 21 yards and spearheaded the Longhorns’ best scoring chance on a drive that ended with a missed 29-yard field goal.