Olathe South tops Wichita Heights for 6A title
TOPEKA Heights players walked quietly out of Yager Stadium on Saturday afternoon. There were no cheers, no celebratory pictures with the Class 6A trophy, no fingers pointed high in the air to show everyone they were No. 1.
That scene was happening behind them, in the middle of the football field, where Olathe South cheered its first football title after a 41-37 victory.
Such emotion was what Heights (12-1) had experienced a year ago when it won its first title. But not Saturday, as its 25-game win streak ended.
A long time ago I came home and told my dad, 'Somebody told me winning doesn't matter,æ Heights coach Rick Wheeler said. My dad said, Bull. Winning or losing does matter. What I learned from him over the years is that the win wasn't the thing that mattered as much, but it's trying like heck to win, busting your butt to win, putting everything out there to win.
Heights did that in a game in which the teams combined for 1,115 yards of offense.
Heights senior Marquel Moore ran for 196 yards and two touchdowns. Jonathan Wilcoxson added 96 yards and a touchdown, Matt Reed 89 yards and a touchdown, Kenneth Iheme 87 yards and a touchdown.
We worked hard all year, and coming up short sucks, said Reed, who started three straight 6A title games at quarterback.
Heights struggled to stop Olathe South's running game, giving up 263 yards and four touchdowns to Jordan Ward, who put Olathe South up for good with a 41-yard run with 45 seconds remaining.
Heights had a 21-19 lead at the half, but Moore fumbled out of the back of the Olathe South end zone while running for a score. Two plays later, Olathe South scored.
I'm disappointed in myself, Moore said. I tried my hardest and the team came out with the L.
Heights took a 34-27 lead after Iheme scored following an Olathe South fumble and threatened to score again.
But as Moore ran toward the end zone, he fumbled at the 1. On the next play, Olathe Souths Frankie Seurer found Drew Johnson up the right side of the field for a 99-yard score and the 34-all tie.
Wheeler refused to pin the blame on any one situation or play.
You couldn't put it on one or two mistakes, Wheeler said. There were so many mistakes, but you know, when you play good teams, you seem to make mistakes. They turned the ball over, too, and they missed some tackles, too.
While Heights recovered and drove from its own 4 to make a go-ahead field goal, Olathe South's offense was clicking and scored six plays later for the win.
People might look at that score and think, wow, Olathe South coach Jeff Gourley said. But we earned every point, they earned every point. We just got some big plays.
Wichita Heights (12-1) 14 7 13 3 37
Olathe South (12-1) 7 12 8 14 41
OSColbert 63 run (Douglas kick)
WHMoore 2 run (Hoyer kick)
WHWilcoxson 15 run (Hoyer kick)
OSWard 2 run (miss kick)
WHMoore 25 run (Hoyer kick)
OSWard 1 run (run failed)
OSWard 83 run (Elliott run)
WHReed 1 run (miss kick)
WHIheme 7 run (Hoyer kick)
OSJohnson 99 pass from Seurer (Douglas kick)
WHHoyer 25 FG
OSWard 41 run (Douglas kick)
RushingHeights, Moore 21-196, Iheme 11-96, Wilcoxson 7-96, M. Reed 18-89, C. Reed 2-3, Byrd 1-9. Olathe South, Ward 27-263, Colbert 6-84, Wilbur 4-12, Seurer 6-10, White 1-4, Elliott 5-(-2).
PassingHeights, M. Reed 3-4-86. Olathe South, Seurer 4-5-183-0.
ReceivingHeights, Moore 1-42, C. Reed 1-24, Iheme 1-20. Olathe South, Johnson 2-129, Magott 1-30, Elliott 1-24.