With a rivalry game and a place in the state football playoffs on the line, Olathe North knew a battle with Olathe South could be a possibility.
But thanks to an impressive rushing attack and stout defense, Olathe North was in total control Friday during its 28-0 victory at Olathe District Activity Center.
“We wanted to come out here and get a win,” running back Venus Triplett said. “This was the first playoff game for us.
The Eagles, 6-3, did not waste time, establishing their run game on the first possession. A six-play drive ended with a sweeping 23-yard run by Triplett that gave them a 7-0 lead.
On the night, Triplett was the leading rusher for the Eagles with 31 carries and 186 yards.
“He’s still learning and growing but he can break a run at any time,” Olathe North coach Gene Wier said.
On its next drive, Olathe North managed to score with a more balanced attack. Quarterback Cole Murphy threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Mauricho Chio giving them an early 14-0 lead.
Having options on the offensive end made it possible for the Eagles to dictate the game.
“I always like the chance that we get to pass because we’re a big running school, but we can definitely do some passing,” Murphy said.
Murphy finished the game nine-for-13 with 81 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for 11 carries and 53 yards.
Olathe South, 5-4, struggled to find rhythm offensively all night. The Falcons had several three-and-outs early on.
Olathe North managed to force some crucial turnovers as well. Isaiah Simmons had two interceptions in the first half, one of them in the end zone.
“Defense is where you have to build your team around and we have good front group and a good linebacking group and our secondary is getting better each week,” Wier said.
After refocusing at halftime, the Eagles opened up the half when Triplett broke through a hole and ran for a 43-yard score, making it a 21-0 advantage.
Throughout the game Triplett continued to run hard even with the growing number of carries.
“Whenever I get the ball I always think three or more yards, and I was able to get a couple big ones tonight,” he said.
The Eagles managed another drive of mixing pass and running in the fourth quarter. It ended when Murphy connected with Chio once again for 13-yard pass, making it 28-0.
Chio ended the game with six catches and 48 yards along with his two touchdowns.
Although this is a young team, Olathe North expects to compete for a state championship like many of the previous squads at its school.
But they understood taking care of this game was important to have that chance.
“We talked about with our kids that you’ve got to win your hometown first and we beat all three Olathe schools,” Wier said. “That’s what we take away. We beat a rival in pretty good fashion, and we feel good because they were a good football team that won five games.”