Olathe North and Olathe South traded punches for the better part of 2 1/2 hours and two overtimes Friday night at the Olathe District Activity Complex.
The rivals slammed into each other headlong like infantry regiments. And ultimately, the game rested on the right foot of Olathe North sophomore kicker Kevin Bustamante.
His extra point in the second overtime was true, and the Eagles celebrated a 27-26 double overtime win.
The Eagles hoisted Bustamonte on their shoulders in a jubilant on-field celebration. Moments later, he still hadn’t come down.
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“I was just making sure it was going through the uprights. No butterflies in my stomach, just making sure to lift that leg up,” Bustamonte said.
He was so focused on his follow through, it took the reaction from the crowd and his teammates to inform him the kick was good.
“I always got to keep my head down to make sure it’s on the tee right and make sure I get that foot on it. The whole team depended on it. It was a big game. A hard game,” Bustamonte said.
The two teams were tied at 13-13 headed into halftime. The second half was spent almost exclusively between the 20-yard lines, with neither team finding a game-breaking play.
An Olathe North touchdown and extra point in the first overtime were matched by South. The Falcons scored to start the second overtime, but the extra point attempt drifted wide right.
Olathe North’s offense relied almost exclusively on the sturdy legs of senior running back Venus Triplett, and that didn’t change in overtime. He finished with 183 yards and three touchdowns, including a pair of 1-yard plunges in the two overtime periods.
“We knew it was going to be a bang-out (game), but we didn’t know they were going to stick in, man. We kept pounding and pounding,” Triplett said. “I thought we were going to hit the edge (on the second overtime touchdown), but at North we’re known for hitting the gut, so I had to lower my shoulder and get in that box. It was a rivalry game and we got the big ‘W,’ so we’re going home with a smile on our face.”
North trailed 13-0 after the first quarter, but finally found some momentum on the first play of the second quarter when Triplett scored from 57 yards out. He also helped set up North’s second touchdown before Vinnie Shabazz finished it off.
South took advantage of a nifty run from quarterback Jake Seurer and an interception to take a lead in the first quarter.
That set the stage for a second-half slugfest that North eventually won with some special-teams execution.
“We practice every day, just like they do,” North coach Gene Wier said. “Sometimes you make them, sometimes you don’t, but you have to make them.”
Sometimes one point makes all the difference.