Could any game possibly be more entertaining?
Friday’s match-up between Shawnee Mission East and Olathe Northwest featuring nine turnovers, two touchdowns in the last 35.3 seconds and a desperation heave that conjured up memories of Doug Flutie.
The last play came with just 3 seconds left with the Lancers trailing 22-21. The ball was on Ravens’ 36.
“We have never practiced the play,” first-year SM East coach Dustin Delaney said. “I made up the formation on the field. It was a Hail Mary play.”
Senior quarterback Christian Blessen said, “I got back as far as I could and threw the ball.”
The ball was tipped in the end zone by Olathe Northwest defenders and ended up in the hands of SM East junior wide receiver Alec Dean with all zeros on the scoreboard.
It was a crushing 27-22 defeat for the the Ravens, who had taken the lead on a seven-play, 76-yard drive that started with 2:32 left in the fourth quarter.
And this drive had come after SM East junior defensive end Sam Williams recovered a fumble by Olathe Northwest senior quarterback Cole Dahlquist. Williams rambled 78 yards to give the Lancers a 21-14 advantage.
The drive by Olathe Northwest started with a 42-yard pass from Dahlquist to senior wide receiver Andrew Steinhauser.
Facing a fourth and 6 at the SM East 30, Dahlquist again hit Steinhauer for the first down at the 21.
The touchdown came on a pass from Dahlquist to senior Chase Gitlin from the three with 35.3 seconds left.
The same duo got the two-point conversion.
The Lancers took over at their 25 and without a timeout.
Blessen connected with Dean twice for 10 and 9 yards, with the junior getting out of bounds on both receptions.
The victory kept the Lancers unbeaten at 3-0 overall and in Sunflower League play. The Ravens fell to 1-2 in league play and overall.
It was a tough loss for first-year Ravens coach Chip Sherman, who coached at SM East for four years before taking the Olathe Northwest job in May.
“I have a ton of respect for him,” Blessen said. “I understand why he left, so he could be with his family more.”
For Sherman this was a first.
“This is the first time in my 35 years of coaching that I have faced a team that I have coached,” he said. “It’s not easy. There are a lot of kids over there that I care an awful lot about.”
It was an astounding victory for the Lancers.
“This was a wild game,” Delaney said. “We tried to give it away.
“We talk about not getting too high or too low, but that is hard to do sometimes in a football game like this.”