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Archive for Friday, October 5, 2001

Mighty Olathe North awaits Lawrence High

October 5, 2001

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Olathe North High's mighty football machine keeps rolling along.

The 5-0 Eagles, ranked No. 1 in Class 6A and state champion four of the past five years, have won 18 games in a row heading into tonight's Sunflower League contest against Lawrence High (3-2). Kickoff is 7 p.m. at Olathe District Activities Center.

"I think we've played pretty well," longtime O-North coach Gene Wier said. "I think we'll find more about our team this week. Lawrence probably has the strongest offensive line we've played against."

Through five weeks, here's a sampling of what Wier knows about his Eagles:

O-North's defense ranks first in the Sunflower League scoring (4.8 points allowed a game), rushing yards allowed (74 yards), passing yards allowed (47 yards) and total defense (121 yards).

O-North ranks No. 1 in the league in rushing (309 yards a game).

O-North senior running back Maurice Mack has 64 carries for 813 yards (12.7 yards a carry) to rank second in the league. He also has 11 TDs.

O-North senior Jon Lamb is the top-rated quarterback in the league, completing 22 of 29 passes for 373 yards with five TDs and no interceptions.

The Eagles also boast two of the top defenders in the state in defensive end Josh Carroll (6-0, 218) and linebacker Royal Whitaker (6-0, 228). Carroll was an all-state pick last year and Whitaker could join him in the Top 11 this fall.

"They're good high school football players," Wier said of Carroll and Whitaker. "There will be a college level for them to play, but I'm not sure which division."

Mack is a college prospect at cornerback, Wier said.

"He's a strong runner and any coach would like to have him," Wier said. "He's going to make his mark in college on the defensive side. He doesn't get thrown his way often."

O-North doesn't throw often. However, the Eagles are effective with Lamb completing 68.9 percent of his passes. Lamb connected on all eight of his attempts last week for 122 yards in a 37-7 victory over Free State.

"We think we're efficient," Wier said. "We just can't line up against a team like Lawrence High. We feel like we'll have to throw more against them."

While O-North owns the top defense in the league, LHS is a distant second. The Lions surrender 219.6 total yards and 103.6 yards passing a game.

"We need to find ways to get a dent in that big defensive line he (Wier) has," LHS coach Dirk Wedd said. "Hopefully, we can control the ball. We might have to throw more than we like and get their defense loosened up."

LHS ranks third in the league in rushing, averaging 227 yards a game. Junior running back Brandon McAnderson has 297 yards and five touchdowns in four games to lead the Lions.

The Lions are coming off a 40-22 loss to No. 4-ranked Olathe South. LHS trailed O-South 19-16 late in the third quarter before the Falcons pulled away.

"We've had a good week of practice," LHS coach Dirk Wedd said. "We want to show people last week wasn't a fluke and that we are for real."

The Lions last week were effective shutting down O-South running back Joseph Harris, the league's top rusher. McAnderson keyed on Harris from the linebacker position. O-North, though, will have more options.

"Olathe North has three capable backs that can do everything that Mack can do, so it's not so easy to key on one guy," McAnderson said.

So far, the lone common opponent for LHS and O-North is Shawnee Mission East. The Lions eked out a 6-0 victory over SM East in the opener. The following week, O-North rolled to a 39-14 victory over the Lancers for the Eagles' closest game of the season.

Tonight is O-North's homecoming.

"It's our first Friday home game and this was the only possible date to have homecoming," Wier said.

O-North has won six in a row over LHS. The Lions' last win over the Eagles came in the 1995 state semifinals. LHS last beat O-North in the regular season in 1993.

Another streak LHS is trying to break is a 10-game skid against the three Olathe schools North, South and East.

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