Tigers to face Olathe North tonight; sports editor predicts close win

Matt Antonic, Sports Editor

Blue Valley Tigers (9-1) @ Olathe North (10-0)
Friday Nov. 14, 2014 at 7 pm.

The Blue Valley Tigers’ quest for State continues tonight with the Tigers facing their toughest test of the season in the quarter finals on the road against undefeated Olathe North. The 9-1 Tigers and the 10-0 Eagles will face off in subfreezing temperatures, meeting for the first time since 2009. The winner will play in the sub-state game next week.

Last Week:

Blue Valley

The Tigers defeated a hopelessly outmatched Shawnee Mission South, 48-7. The Raiders, making their first playoff appearance in over seven years, barely reached 100 yards of total offense. The Tiger defense flawlessly marched up and down the field, carrying a 35-0 lead into the half. The win was Blue Valley’s first playoff victory in the 6A Division since 2009.

Olathe North

The Eagles crushed Shawnee Mission North by the whopping score of 68-20. Running Back Venus Triplett scored three touchdowns, and the Eagles ran into the locker room at the half up 55-14. Of the Eagles 11 touchdowns, 9 were rushing. Olathe North boasts one of the best offenses in the state and will face a stiff test tonight.

Player to watch: Olathe North Running Back Venus Triplett
As a junior, Triplett has torn up the Sunflower League, scoring 20 total touchdowns and rushing for over 1,100 yards. Triplett will pose the biggest threat to the Tiger defense and may be the best running back Blue Valley has seen. With the cold temperatures hindering throwing accuracy, Triplett may be asked to do a lot of the hauling tonight.

Impact of Weather: With the wind chill expected to fall below 20 degrees tonight, the game may see fewer passes thrown. While fans in the stands have the luxury of blankets and coats, the players have only Under Armour and pads. The team that maintains focus and plays strong defense will have the upper hand in the strong elements tonight.

Last Matchup — 2009
In a season in which the Tigers started 1-6, a miraculous run had led the team to the sub-state game to face the Eagles and star running back James Franklin. The Tigers carried a one-point lead in the final seconds, but an Olathe North Field goal with less than 15 seconds left ended the Tigers’ season. It was also the last game in the tenure of coach Steve Rampy.

Prediction:

The Tigers and Eagles very well may play in one of the best games of the season. The Tigers defense has been almost airtight, giving up 19 points in the last three games. In order to win, the Tigers will need to slow the Eagles powerful running game and find rhythm on offense. If both of those things happen, the Tigers march on to sub-state. The current run of form will continue tonight, and the Tigers will seal the deal in the 4th quarter.

Blue Valley 31 Olathe North 24