Hungry like the wolf
By Dean Backes PrepsKC staff writer
Toiling through a rough stretch to begin the 2011 football season Blue Valley Southwest running back Dylan O’Dell and his Timberwolf teammates kept plugging away despite the sting of five straight losses.
Saturday afternoon the Timberwolves were the ones doing the bullying, winning 41-14 over Kaw Valley foe Kansas City-Piper at Blue Valley High School in the second round of the Kansas Class 4A state football playoffs to give the first year Eastern Kansas League squad the 2011 regional championship.
Blue Valley Southwest, now in the midst of a six-game winning streak, advances to the 4A quarterfinals Friday at Paola who topped Columbus 48-15 Saturday night.
“This is great,” O’Dell said following the win. “We’ve worked hard for this. We’ve been working hard in practice and getting the job done. Coach told us to keep going at it, and that’s exactly what we’ve done.”
Harnessed with the daunting task of facing Class 5A powers Bishop Miege, Blue Valley and Gardner-Edgerton in the first five weeks of the regular season the road to a deep drive into the 4A playoffs may have been made simpler.
Since winning 35-28 over Blue Valley North in week six, the Timberwolves swept its district title with wins over St. James Academy, De Soto and Bishop Ward. Then knocked off Baldwin before taming the Pirates.
“It got a little easier,” O’Dell said of the Blue Valley Southwest schedule. “Yeah, we’ve got one of the toughest schedules in all of 4A. We came back and it got easier.”
Blue Valley Southwest’s ground game was tremendous from the get go, churning out 356 yards and all six touchdowns. The Timberwolves netted 432 yards of total offense.
“We just wanted to run the ball today,” Blue Valley Southwest coach Bill Lowe said. “I thought they had a lot of speed and had a lot of athletes. We wanted to control the clock, take care of the ball and not give them many opportunities with it. I think we were able to do that.”
Before Piper was able to notch its second first down of the ball game, Blue Valley Southwest bolted out to a 13-0 first quarter lead behind its volatile ground game. O’Dell opened the scoring with a three-yard run followed by Chance Nelson’s five-yard scoring rush to cap off Blue Valley Southwest’s second possession.
Then early in the second quarter, Timberwolf coach Bill Lowe went with his gut. Being a little selfish with the football, Lowe successfully called for a fake punt, which Cody DeMoss easily converted with a 26-yard scamper to the Piper 46.
Scott Anderson capped off the 83-yard drive with a 12-yard run midway through the second quarter giving the hosts a 20-0 advantage and all of the momentum.
“I just figured we were moving the ball ok and I didn’t want to give them the ball,” Lowe said. “We were kind of saving it and sometimes you just have a hunch. I felt like it was a good time for it.”
With the second quarter winding down, O’Dell added a one-yard score to put the Timberwolves up 27-0 at intermission. Anderson kept the drive alive moments earlier when he latched onto an Aaron Ramsey pass and advanced the ball to the Piper 18, converting on third and 25.
Jack Becker got into the scoring parade for the Timberwolves in the fourth quarter when he hit pay dirt from five yards out, giving Southwest its largest advantage at 34-0. Nelson’s 35-yard run highlighted the drive for the Timberwolves.
Piper quarterback Tanner Eikenbary and Beau Soucie made sure the Pirates wouldn’t end the 2011 season being shutout. The aerial duo teamed up for back-to-back gains of more than 20 yards each, setting up Julian Cole’s four yard score with six minutes, three seconds left in the game.
Following Drew Tommelein’s nine-yard scoring run around the right end for the Timberwolves with 2:06 left in the contest, Eikenbary and Soucie hooked up once more for back-to-back gains of 20 and one yards. The latter being the final score of the game with 41-seconds left.
Piper did threaten twice in the first half. The Pirates recovered a Blue Valley Southwest fumble at the Timberwolf 20-yard line and later drove to the Timberwolf 36. But on each occasion the Blue Valley Southwest defense stopped the Pirates on downs.
“I knew they’d play hard no matter what,” Lowe said of his squad. “That’s all we ask. We want them to outhit and outhustle everybody we play.”
Even though the Timberwolf slate has become a little simpler compared to those first five contests, Lowe realizes it will get tougher from here on out.
“Every week gets a little tougher and next Friday will be really tough,” Lowe said of the Timberwolves’ battle with either Columbus or Paola. “Eight teams are left and they’re all really good. Our kids will fight and they’ll play hard and that’s all we can ask of them. We’re just glad to have the opportunity.”
O’Dell took next week’s prediction one step further.
“Whoever they want us to play, we’ll take ‘em down,” he said
Excelsior Springs Tigers
Grain Valley Eagles
Bishop Miege Stags
Mid Buchanan Dragons
Shawnee Mission Northwest Cougars
St. Pius X Warriors
Park Hill South Panthers
Shawnee Mission East Lancers
St. Joseph Benton Cardinals
Blue Springs Wildcats