To overcome over 150 yards in penalties against an undefeated team, Olathe North needed a couple of skill-position players making plays.
Olathe North senior wide receiver/running back Jacob Parrish and senior quarterback Noah Palmer produced several “wow” moments Friday evening in the Eagles’ 21-7 victory over Lawrence Free State at Olathe District Activity Center.
“I was really happy the way we overcame some penalties,” Olathe North coach Chris McCartney said. “Our kids are tough. Our offensive line is solid, tough and physical. We kept overcoming anything they were throwing at us.
The win lifted Olathe North to 3-0, and Lawrence Free State dropped to 2-1.
While the duo made some eye-popping plays in the first half, Parrish and Palmer took their game to another level after Lawrence Free State tied the game 7-7 early in the third quarter on a 1-yard touchdown run by senior quarterback Jet Dineen.
The Eagles responded by putting together a 65-yard drive. In that drive, Palmer had a 17-yard run, a 9-yard run and a 9-yard run. He capped the drive with a 3-yard touchdown run, making it 13-7.
“Noah is one of the hardest runners I have ever seen,” Parrish said. “He is always fighting for yards. He is incredible.”
The touchdown by Lawrence Free State made the Eagles a little angry. Palmer said they were a little in shock.
“We gave up our first points of the season,” Palmer said. “We had to keep fighting. It was great offensive line for us. We just run the ball tough.”
In their next drive, the Eagles rode the wheels of Parrish. He had two big plays in the 64-yard touchdown drive. The first was a 46-yard reception, which gave him eight catches for 175 yards.
Parrish’s other impressive play in the drive was a 33-yard touchdown run with a 11 minutes 50 seconds left in the game. The two-point conversion gave Olathe North a 21-7 lead.
“Jacob is special,” Palmer said. “It is something I have never seen before. He can do it all, run, pass, catch and play defense.”
On the first two plays of the game, Parrish carried the ball twice for 13 yards. Three plays later, he caught a 51-yard pass from Palmer. Olathe North didn’t score on its initial drive, but Parrish showed he was going to be a force to reckon with.
Olathe North went into halftime with a 7-0 lead thanks to a 11-yard run up the middle by Parrish on fourth-and-5 early in the second quarter.
Parrish, though, did most of his damage catching the ball. He went into halftime with 129 yards in seven receptions.
“I like catching the ball,” Parrish said. “I’ve been working on my route running and catching.”
Given those numbers by Parrish, Lawrence Free State displayed its grit to keep it a one-score game after two quarters.
The play that proved the Firebirds were gutsy occurred in their first drive of the game. Facing fourth-and-inches at their 11, the Firebirds went for it and got it on a 6-yard run by Dineen.
Lawrence Free State eventually had to punt, but the seed was planted that the Firebirds were going all out for a road win. But they were unable to come up with one on Friday night against the Eagles.