Olathe East seniors Connor Leach and Jordan Brown provided more than enough offense in the first half to pave the way for a smooth 56-14 victory over Blue Valley North on Thursday evening at Blue Valley District Stadium.
In the first half, Brown rushed for two touchdowns and 86 yards, and Leach completed all eight of his passes for 173 yards and two touchdowns.
“Oh my God, it was crazy,” said senior tight end Connor Alexander, who caught four passes for 102 yards, including a 46-yard pass play in the first quarter. “I wish I had more wheels to score on that seam route, but he (Leach) was pinpoint accurate at this stage of the season. He has really progressed as a quarterback.”
Brown was even more dynamic in the third quarter. He scored touchdowns on runs of 55 and 63 yards.
After those long runs, there was no need for him to get his hands on the ball again, especially after senior Brandon Trinkle returned an interception 38 yards for a touchdown. The pick-six gave the Hawks a 56-7 lead with 4:11 remaining in the third quarter.
“This was definitely a career day for me,” Brown said. “All the credit goes to the offensive line. They really sprung me in that half.”
Brown rushed for 226 yards and four touchdowns in 15 carries as the Hawks improved to 5-2. It was the perfect way for Olathe East to begin 6A district play.
“If you can get a win in the first district game, it makes the last two so much easier,” Brown said.
The game started very well for Olathe East. The Hawks stopped BV North in the opening drive of the game and got the ball in very good field position.
Olathe East needed only one play from scrimmage to score. It came on a 27-yard burst up the middle by Brown, giving the Hawks a 7-0 lead just 1 minute, 12 seconds into the game.
“It was definitely a sign of things to come,” Brown said.
The Hawks’ next score came through the air when Leach tossed a 6-yard touchdown pass to Trinkle with 5:59 left in the first quarter.
BV North fought back behind the gritty play of junior quarterback Luke Sells. Using his feet and arm, Sells guided the Mustangs on a 50-yard drive that culminated with an 8-yard run by junior Donta Hanks.
With 51 seconds remaining in the first quarter, the Mustangs trailed only 14-7. But BV North had no answer for Leach and Brown.
Olathe East took a 21-7 lead on a 1-yard touchdown run by Brown and then put the game out of reach late in the second quarter on a 27-yard touchdown pass from Leach to Braxton Love.
Still, the Hawks had a few things they needed to work on in the second half.
“It was mostly a defensive change in the second half,” Alexander said. “They were running mostly to the outside and we weren’t adjusting before half. After half, coaches put in some technique to help that out and shut down their outside run.”