Marisa has been a photographer on the Harbinger staff for 3 years and the online photo editor for 2 years. Along with photography, she enjoys reading and painting and staying caught up on current events. Read Full »
The lateral pass wobbled, ricocheted off the gloves of an Olathe North receiver and fell to the ground. Senior Ryan Carter fell on the ball as it bobbled and rolled its way deep into North territory. The Lancer student section was empty, as over 200 fans huddled in the freezing air beside the track and watched their team explode in joy.
The Lancers were now 11-1. They had beaten Olathe North 37-27. They were breaking history. They were going to State.
Although the sub-state game between the SM East Lancers and the Olathe North Eagles was long and hard-fought, it was dominated by the Lancers, who retained the lead for a majority of the night.
Senior fullback Luke Taylor was an offensive powerhouse for the Lancers, beginning in the tenth minute when he broke open a 37 yard run for a touchdown. The early Lancer lead put pressure on Olathe North’s star running back Venus Triplett, who answered with a touchdown drive to tie the game 7-7 at the end of the quarter.
Led by senior Ryan Carter, the Lancer defense forced an Olathe North stop in dangerous territory after Taylor previously fumbled. A three and out put the ball back into the hands of the Lancer offense. Senior Mitchell Tyler found a wide open hole along the right side of the field on a punt return and brought the ball back to the Olathe North 20 yard line.
After Carter scored a touchdown, a missed point after attempt put the score at 13-7. The game quickly became a shoot out, as Olathe North quarterback Cole Murphy marched his team down for a long drive and rushed for a touchdown.
The touchdown put the Lancers down 13-14 with three minutes left in the half. Another long return by Tyler set up Taylor to drive in his second touchdown of the night. Strong blocking from the offensive line gave Carter space to walk into the endzone for a two-point conversion.
With no timeouts left, Olathe North was unable to get more than two plays off before the half ended. As they trotted into the locker room, the Lancers led 21-14.
The Lancers started the second half with junior Jackson Gossick breaking open a sideline rush. The team was unable to notch another touchdown, but Tyler scored a field goal to push the score to 24-14.
Triplett was able to answer with another rushing drive, chalking up over 50 individual yards to score another touchdown to close the lead to 24-20. Consecutive rushes by Tyler, Carter and Taylor put the Lancers back in the red zone, and a scrambling run by quarterback Gunnar Englund moved the offense to the one yard line.
Carter punched in another touchdown, giving the Lancers a 30-20 lead. The game continued to be back and forth, as Triplett scored another touchdown for Olathe North, but the Lancers retained a 30-27 lead with seven minutes left in the game.
The final Lancer drive took five minutes off the clock as Englund marched his team steadily into the Olathe North red zone. With a fourth down on the one yard line, Englund kept the ball and punched a hole into the endzone.
The touchdown gave the Lancers a 37-27 lead with 55.7 seconds remaining.
Olathe North tried two plays before Murphy hucked an awkward lateral to a tight end. His receiver dropped the ball, and the Lancers recovered it on the 20 yard line. Englund took a knee and finished out his third varsity game, making history yet again for the Lancers.
The Lancers will play Derby High School in the State Championship next Saturday in Topeka and kickoff is at 1 p.m. Can’t make it to the game? The Harbinger will not be allowed to broadcast due to KSHSAA restrictions, but our staff will live tweet for all fans unable to get to Topeka.