Titans topple Pirates

NEW CASTLE — Since 2005, the year Coal Ridge High School opened, the Titans never had beaten Olathe.

In that time, Olathe has won two state titles and made numerous playoff runs.

But Coal Ridge rewrote the school’s short football history Friday on homecoming night, topping Olathe 13-6 in overtime at Coal Ridge High School.

Coal Ridge reached the red zone only once during regulation, and only because of an Olathe pass interference penalty. Just moments after running back Chris Contreras was dragged down in the backfield on a sweep, the Titans went right back to it, and Contreras squeezed past the pylon for a 
10-yard touchdown to tie the game 6-6 after a failed two-point conversion.

Then, the Coal Ridge defense stiffened, stuffing the Olathe offense at the goal line twice in the remaining quarters.

“My guys just played like a team,” Coal Ridge coach Kyle Sager said. “When one guy fell down, two more guys were there to pick him up and say, ‘That’s all right, we’ll get them next play.’ That’s what made those goal-line stands happen.”

Olathe committed its third false-start penalty in the red zone with less than five minutes remaining and pushed the team outside the 10 yard-line on first and goal. Two runs by Rose put the Pirates on the eight-yard line, but junior quarterback Trent Jole threw his first interception of game, and Alex Harrell downed the ball in the end zone.

Coal Ridge went three and out on the next drive, but the Coal Ridge offense had a final chance late. With 1:10 left, Coal Ridge took a shot at the end zone from the 34 yard-line. Troy Rose got a sack for the Pirates, and then Jacob Solseth dropped what would have been an interception.

Two plays later, Solseth got a second chance, picking the ball off near the goal line. Solseth nearly ended the game on the return, but was brought down on a shoestring tackle at midfield before time ran out.

The Titans opened overtime on the Olathe 10-yard line, and a fumble by senior quarterback Gunnar Pagni nearly ended Coal Ridge’s chances, but he scooped up the ball and slammed forward for a five-yard gain before Contreras capped the drive with a three-yard TD run. The Titans fumbled four times but recovered all four.

“When it came down to it, we knew it was a big moment and stepped up to meet it,” Pagni said. “These seniors were trying to fire the guys up, and I’ve never seen my guys push so hard, together, at one moment in time.

“It’s hard to follow the defense when they have goal line stops like that. But our guys did it on the final drive and at the end of the week we’re 1-0. That’s what we say after every week.”

Pagni went 1 for 14 passing, but ran for 79 yards on six carries, including a 50-yard run to start the second quarter.

Rose had the touchdown for Olathe on a three-yard dive on the first drive of the game.


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