Olathe North trounces Derby, 41-12
Eagles stretch championship streak to six titles in seven seasons
Olathe North’s Gene Wier ran out of fingers Saturday – at least on one hand.
Now the legendary coach has to push his palms skyward when counting his sixth state championship, which he won Saturday at Kansas University’s Memorial Stadium with a 41-12 victory against Derby in the Class 6A finale.
“We just played Olathe North football,” said Wier, whose team capped an undefeated season and extended its all-time Class 6A-record winning streak to 38 behind the Eagles’ second “threepeat” of titles in the past seven years.
“They’re all new and different. I don’t even look back at the others ones. This is a great one.”
In part because of Jim Bouknight, who had the greatest single-season rushing performance in Eagle history. The senior paved his team’s path to the title Saturday with 183 yards and three touchdowns and cemented his own legacy with 2,784 yards this year, the sixth-best state total ever.
“I think when you go to the dance you ought to stay with the girl you brought,” Wier quipped of Bouknight, who surpassed current Kansas State running back Darren Sproles’ Eagle mark by 299 yards.
While the Eagles’ attack was centered on Bouknight, there were plenty of other players who performed big in outgaining Derby in total yards 405-to-261 with 382 of those on the ground.
After 11-2 Derby started the scoring on quarterback Elmer Tagatac’s 2-yard run with 4:05 left in the first, O. North responded on back-to-back scoring plays by quarterback Dallas Browning.
Browning – who somewhat handed the ball off to fullback C.J. Hoge but pulled it back after Hoge was hammered at the line by Panther tacklers – went untouched for a 60-yard touchdown to tie the game at 7.
Less than two minutes later Browning bulleted a 42-yard scoring strike to a wide-open Cody Willard that lifted the Eagles into the lead for good.
Bouknight’s rushing ballet soon began.
The 170-pound senior pounded out a nine-yard touchdown at the start of the second quarter.
Derby kicked a field goal, but Bouknight busted in a 10-yard score before the end of the half and bounded 45 yards on the opening drive of the second half, which all but clinched the Eagles’ third crown since 1999 – the only year since 1996 they didn’t play in the title game.
“This is Olathe North,” Bouknight said, pointing among awe-inspired Eagle fans in what has become their annual celebration.