Olathe So much for that monkey on Olathe North’s back.
The Eagles avenged last year’s stunning 10-6 loss to Free State in the second round of the Class 6A state playoffs with a convincing 41-28 victory Friday night.
Asked how he felt about removing the persistent simian from his shoulders, O-North coach Pete Flood twinkled and said: “What do you think?”
Not unexpectedly, the unbeaten Eagles whooped and hollered as they ran around the field afterward celebrating.
“It felt great,” said senior back Tre Walker, who scored a pair of TDs on short runs and had an interception. “Ever since we lost, we’ve had 364 days to prepare.”
Tailback James Franklin also scored twice, his 27th and 28th touchdowns of the season, while gaining 241 yards on 32 carries and surpassing Darren Sproles as the school’s career rushing leader.
“It feels good to get the record in this game,” Franklin said, “because of the revenge thing.”
Not so fast. Flood declared the R-word didn’t fit the situation.
“I didn’t think it was revenge,” the O-North coach said. “They played good, and they beat us last year. We didn’t want revenge. We wanted to atone.”
Atone they did, but not without some anxious moments, particularly in the fourth quarter when Free State quarterback Camren Torneden started filling the air with the football.
“It was important for everybody to keep their composure and continue to chop wood,” Flood said. “We knew they wouldn’t make mistakes like they did in Week Six.”
Flood was referring to the October game played at Free State’s field. O-North won that one, 38-20, scoring half its points in the first quarter, mostly because of gaffes by the Firebirds.
Free State’s only turnovers Friday were a pair of interceptions thrown by Torneden. Neither led to an O-North score.
The Eagles played without regular quarterback David Blazevic, who was shelved due to swollen lymph glands, Flood said. Junior Victor Simmons replaced Blazevic and rushed for 164 yards on 28 carries.
Simmons never threw a pass. In fact, the only O-North pass was a botched conversion attempt by holder Jason Peete following the Eagles’ last score with only 1:05 remaining.
“Victor can throw,” Flood said, “but we had the lead, and there was no reason to take a chance.”