Olathe Olathe North ended Lawrence High's football season Friday night in the Class 6A state quarterfinals and here are the Gore-y details:
Three touchdown runs, a touchdown pass, 212 rushing yards and two interceptions by O-North senior Beno Gore helped the two-time defending state champion Eagles knock off the Lions, 33-14, at Olathe District Activities Center.
"They just gave us a thorough kicking," LHS coach Dick Purdy said. "We couldn't move the ball. They just destroyed us inside. Defensively we made a couple of mistakes. They knocked us out of there and gave Beno and (Darren) Sproles room to run and they ran. I don't think we had a lack of effort. They were better up front tonight big time."
The Lions finished the season with a 5-5 record. Meanwhile, the 8-2 Eagles advanced to the state semifinals with their first playoff victory over LHS in seven attempts. They will play Blue Valley Northwest, a 38-0 winner over Shawnee Mission East, at Northwest on Friday.
Gore, a 5-foot-8, 180-pound speedster and Sunflower League rushing champion with 1,358 yards, figured in all three O-North touchdowns in the first half. He had a 32-yard TD run, a 24-yard pass to Kyle Ricketts and a one-yard run to provide the Eagles with a 21-14 halftime lead.
Despite the seven-point deficit, LHS remained confident heading into the second half.
"Our team has a lot of heart," LHS senior linebacker-running back Nick Wilcox said. "We always try to come back. We worked so hard all year. The past three games (district wins over Topeka, Leavenworth and Free State) before this were great and we were so high and we felt noone could take us down."
Gore's 77-yard TD burst on the Eagles' first possession of the third quarter brought down the Lions in a hurry. O-North outscored LHS 12-0 in the second half, when the Lions managed just 70 yards total offense and four first downs.
"They shoved it down our throats and we were not making any first-and-10s," Purdy said.
In the first half, the Lions hung with the Eagles. Wilcox recovered a fumble deep in the end zone for a touchdown after LHS quarterback Riley Scott lost the ball while reaching for the goal line with 57 seconds left in the first quarter.
With 51 seconds left in the second quarter, Scott connected with Antonio Glover for a 63-yard touchdown pass. Glover caught the ball at O-North's 30 with junior Ira Boydston defending.
"That was luck," Scott said of the pass that evened the score at 14-14. "That pass was a duck. I didn't get a good throw at all. He's a great athlete and went up and caught it. Great players make great plays."
Four plays later O-North scored again -- Gore's one-yard run -- to take the lead for good.
O-North's victory -- its seventh straight in the state playoffs -- snapped the Lions' three-game winning streak.
"We're tickled to death to be this far and disappointed as heck we're not going farther," Purdy said. "I don't want them hanging their heads because they played hard all season. They earned their way into this game and not everybody's playing tonight."
Said Scott of the season-ending loss, "Like coach said only eight (6A) teams are playing tonight and a lot of people wanted to be where we are, but it still hurts."
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