High School Sports

High School Sports

Matt Tait’s playoff football notebook

November 14, 2009


He’s the king

Olathe North running back James Franklin broke former O-North standout Darren Sproles’ city record for rushing yards in a career with a run on the last drive of the second quarter. Coming into the night, Franklin needed just 44 yards to break Sproles’ record of 5,230 yards. He finished with 203, putting him ahead of Sproles — a former Kansas State star and current San Diego Chargers running back — to stay.

To fake or not to fake?

On the final play of the first quarter, Free State attempted a fake punt from the Olathe North 39-yard line. Junior Cody Oller took the quick snap and ran four yards on a fourth-and-nine. The fake failed, but unleashing the high-risk, high-reward gamble so early in the game showed that the Firebirds were there to do whatever it took to win. Later in the game, Olathe North also ran an unsuccessful fake punt.

We are Lawrence

A handful of Lawrence High football players was spotted in the first row of the Free State High student section. Some wore green, and all of them loudly supported the Firebirds.

“They better win it”

Just about every player on the Free State High team left the field with nothing but respect for his Olathe North counterpart. In fact, many Firebirds openly said they’ll be rooting for the Eagles to bring home the state title. That included Free State coach Bob Lisher, who talked to Franklin and quarterback Victor Simmons after the game about bringing the trophy back to the Sunflower League.

Like old times

As the two teams went back-and-forth throughout the second half, one of the members of the Olathe North chain gang was overheard saying, “This is like those old Olathe North-Lawrence games,” referring to the epic battles between Lawrence High and Olathe North in the 1990s.


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