Olathe North couldn’t have asked for a more balanced and smooth opening to district play on Friday night.
Venus Triplett ran, Cole Murphy passed, the defense swarmed and the Eagles cruised to a 49-3 win over Olathe East at the Olathe District Activity Center.
“I felt like we were a little faster and more physical tonight,” Olathe North coach Gene Wier said. “Our kids came out and competed well.”
The Eagles (7-0, 1-0 Kansas Class 6A-District 4) were dominant on both sides of the ball, piling up 487 yards of offense — 363 of which came on the ground — while holding East (3-4, 0-1) to just 94 yards, 23 in the second half.
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“Their speed and quickness were the keys to the game,” Olathe East coach Jeff Meyers said. “They were a better football team tonight.”
Triplett, Olathe North’s star running back, rushed 19 times for 142 yards and three touchdowns
It took just one carry for him to put his stamp on the game. After East punted on the night’s first drive, Triplett took a handoff, cut left through an opening in the line and sprinted past the defense for a 52-yard touchdown.
Another Hawks punt was followed by a 23-yard Marcel Spears run. Then a 36-yard pass from Murphy to Josh Moore set up a 1-yard Triplett run that pushed the lead to 14-0 with 3:50 to play in the opening quarter.
That lead moved to 28-0 at halftime after Marcel Spears and Isaiah Simmons added touchdown runs.
“I felt like this was the best offensive game we’ve played in a while,” said Moore, North’s 6-foot-5 senior tight end who had two catches for 49 yards. “We’ve obviously got a great back, but I feel like we’ve got the best receivers in the state too and we were able to use them some tonight.”
Any hopes the Hawks held onto at halftime for a comeback were all but quashed when North opened the second half with a 12-play, 79-yard drive that took 5:18 off the clock. After a 16-yard pass from Murphy to Simmons on fourth down and 47 rushing yards from Triplett, including a 1-yard TD run, the Eagles had a 35-0 lead.
That took enough drama out of the game that the Olathe North student section started a “Let’s Go Royals” chant before the ensuing kickoff.
“We’ve been bad about starting the first and third quarters slowly,” Wier said. “That was something we wanted to work on, and we came out strong in both. We need to come out and get at least two first downs to start the game and the second half. That was nice to see.”
Olathe East got its lone points when Chris Diddle booted a 36-yard field goal after North fumbled a punt at its own 21 late in the third quarter. The only other time the Hawks got into North territory came after a fourth-quarter fumble.