Football faces loss at the hands of Olathe North

Olathe North defeated the Husky football team with a final score of 14-3 tonight. With this loss, the football team ends their season with a record of 7-3.

Kaitlyn Styve and Katie Sullivan

Liz Kuhlmann and Avery Mojica

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As night fell and winds began to roar through the stadium, Olathe North High School (7,3) and Blue Valley Northwest High School (7,3) engaged in a battle of the running backs with the Region Championship Title on the line. The war was not even for long, as ON’s defense—led by senior Jimmie Swain—stopped BVNW junior running back Miles Alexander in his tracks. Without a key part of their offense racking up yards and touchdowns, the Huskies were unable to keep up with the Eagles as ON went on to claim victory, 14-3.

“BVNW played really well today with a lot of intensity,” Swain said. “I think they played a big role in our development today. I’m so proud of our defense right now and I’m ready to move onto next week.”

Olathe North jumped to an early lead with 2 minutes left in the first quarter as senior running back Venus Triplett dodged and twisted through a hole at the end of the line from 20 yards out to put the Eagles up on the scoreboard for the first time that night. While Triplett only made one trip to the end zone during the game, his performance was exceptional. The Eagle’s offense turned to him when the time came to convert downs or gain extra yards, and he fulfilled their expectations.

Late in the second quarter, the Eagles put another seven up on the board when junior quarterback Cole Murphy aired it out to junior tight end Josh Moore who caught it in stride at the 35 and ran 15 yards for the final touchdown of the night.

The Eagles have generated a habit throughout the season of creating an early lead and then letting their defense carry them the rest of the game. According to head coach Gene Wier, this was not intentional and the situation stimulated from the Eagles desire to keep the Huskies scoring minimal.

“We played pretty hard,” Wier said. “You do what you need to do to win, that’s our mantra. Our defense stepped up and did great. A few weeks ago when we played Garnder Edgerton, we were up but then they came back and took the lead. We didn’t want that to happen again because we should’ve won.”

“The defense had a little bit of a chip on their shoulder from last year,” Swain said. “We weren’t too good last year and a lot people didn’t respect our defense. We gave up too many points. This year was a focus for us to go out and show people that we mean business, and I think that we are accomplishing that.”

While a euphoric feeling took over Eagles fans as the game progressed, tension overcame the Husky sideline, as the offense could not keep a drive alive. Multiple turnovers, penalties, and fumbles kept the Huskies from possessing the ball for too long.  BVNW was only able to put up three points from a field goal by Bryan Gish midway through the second quarter. The Eagle defense covered Husky wide receivers as pass after pass from Rominger was either picked off or broken up.

“It happens,” BVNW head coach Mike Zegunis said. “Especially toward the end of the game. There was some miscommunication and some plays didn’t go as planned. But they kept playing, so I’m proud of them.”

Swain explained the Eagles knew BVNW liked to pass a lot, and rightfully so since the team has both the receivers and the routes for that type of offense. However, by sticking to the game plan, Swain said they were able to shut down the offense.

“We’re feeling really good right now,” Swain said. “We’re feeling amazing about our defense, we’re not giving up any points right now. We’re stopping the run, we’re picking picks, and I’m so proud.”

Though the Husky offense was effectively stopped, Zegunis credits the defense to keeping them in the game. After two touchdowns in the first half, the BVNW defense—led by senior Kyle Harrison and Jordan Carroll with tackles and deflections—kept the Eagles from scoring in the second half.

“Our defense was really great,” Zegunis said. “They gave us a lot of chances to get the ball back in good field position and score points. Our offense just didn’t succeed. When you have turnovers, negative plays, and incomplete passes; the situation sucks to score points in. That’s just how it played out tonight. I do give credit to [Olathe North’s] defense; they’re very good.”

“Our defense did a terrific job,” senior wide receiver Jaquwan Stone said. “They held onto the ball. Our offense just needed to capitalize on improving their passes and being prepared. We finished off the season pretty good. We could have gone further, but we still did pretty good.”

Zegunis predicts next years team will be new and young, and hopes they will be able to compete and give it their all. As far as this season goes, Zegunis said he has no regrets.

“This season was outstanding,” Zegunis said. “The team played their tails off and gave it their all. I’m very proud of them.”