The first time Shawnee Mission East touched the ball on offense, junior running back Michael Perry burst through a wide-open hole untouched and raced 59 yards for a touchdown against Olathe East.
“I am speechless,” Perry said. “It was my first varsity touchdown. I couldn’t believe it. I cut back, and it was open.”
It was a bad sign for Olathe East. Despite an early, 5:30 p.m. start because of potential inclement weather on Friday evening, the Lancers were off and running in their 43-14 road victory at College Boulevard Activity Center.
“It was weird,” Perry said of the early start. “But once we got started, it was like any other game.”
Olathe East didn’t appear to be as ready for the early start. In its second drive of the game, the Hawks snapped the ball out of the end zone for a safety on a punt attempt.
The Lancers continued the early onslaught, starting their next drive on Olathe East’s 42. Three plays later, SM East was back in the end zone on an 18-yard run by 6-foot-4 junior quarterback Andy Maddox. It makes sense that Maddox has a little height. His father, Mike Maddox, was a 6-7 freshman forward on KU’s 1988 national championship team.
“That helped us against a good team like Olathe East,” Maddox said of the good start by Perry.
On the last play in the first quarter, Maddox showed he has a strong arm to go with his legs when he tossed an 18-yard touchdown pass to Perry, making it 29-0.
“When everything clicks like that, it looks pretty good,” SM East coach Dustin Delaney said.
The only thing that went Olathe East’s way in the first quarter was an interception by junior James Grooms midway thorugh the quarter. But that defensive gem was quickly nullified when SM East senior Kelyn Bolton intercepted a pass two plays later and returned it 32 yards. That turnover led to a 6-yard touchdown run by senior running back Milton Braasch.
Braasch showed his value in the second quarter also when SM East got the ball at its 21 with 6:41 remaining in the second quarter. Led by several gritty, inside-the-tackle runs by Braasch, the Lancers put together a 14-play drive that took 6 minutes, 17 seconds. Braasch finished the drive with a 3-yard touchdown run to give SM East a 36-0 lead with 24 seconds left before halftime.
Olathe East settled in to start the third quarter, stopping SM East and then putting together its best drive of the game. The Hawks drove 80 yards and got to the 1 with three downs to get into the end zone. Olathe East finally pushed in its first score on fourth down on a 1-yard run by junior quarterback Hunter Thomas with 2:32 left in the third quarter.
A few plays later, Olathe East came up with its most spectacular play of the game. Grooms forced a fumble, and junior Ray Lewis scooped up the ball and raced 80 yards for a touchdown.
The Lancers had an answer. Maddox dropped back from his 12 and threw the ball 40 yards down field and Bolton caught it in stride for an 88-yard touchdown reception late in the third quarter for the final points of the game.
“That was awesome,” Maddox said. “I saw the safety coming up. Kelyn has great speed. I put it up for him to get it, and he came down with it.”