SM North football pushes past SMNW, 61-38
Overland Park It has been a long time since Shawnee Mission North football players have been able to enjoy a victory against rival Shawnee Mission Northwest. In fact, these current Indian players were very early in their elementary school days the last time North walked off the field with a victory against Northwest.
So what happened Friday night? Years of disappointment were washed away as the Indians rolled to a 61-38 victory against Northwest in a game that showed the intensity of the rivalry and showcased some explosive offensive fireworks.
“It has always been a big rivalry game,” North running back Marcos Garcia said. “For the past 10 years we have lost to Northwest, so finally, our senior year, we came out with a victory. We were ready for this game to get this win.”
North may have been too fired up for the game. The Indians were unofficially penalized 21 times in the game, with many of those coming after the play.
“There were way too many flags tonight,” North head coach Ben Bartlett said. “There was an emphasis to play a disciplined game – play football and not be involved in the extracurricular. We had a hard time with that. We had some youngsters that made some mistakes for us. Ultimately to be able to overcome the mistakes we made and the win is a great thing.”
Garcia, meanwhile, had the right level of ready Friday night. The 205-pound senior gashed the Cougars defense with powerful inside runs, and long sprints down the field all night. Garcia registered 263 yards and three touchdowns on just 18 carries.
The physical and fast runner scored on jaunts of 18, 42 and 59 yards and was caught from behind on a 54-yard run late in the game. In all, eight of his 18 attempts went for more than 10 yards as the North offensive line cleared the way.
“It is all about my line,” Garcia said. “My line is my whole world. If they play well, I can have an amazing game. This was an outstanding game for the line.”
Bartlett added, “The line was huge for us. They gave us time in the pocket and they created huge holes for Marcos, who had an amazing game. He came alive for us tonight. He started the season with an injury and we eased him back. What he did tonight running the ball for us was amazing.”
While North was able to churn out 332 rushing yards, the Indians also had success in the air behind senior quarterback Will Schneider, who completed 18 of 27 attempts for 247 yards and four touchdowns to four different receivers.
Noah Laird, Billy Conaway, Trevon Kleint and Avante Williams all caught touchdown passes for North. On the night, Conaway pulled in seven balls for 141 yards.
Meanwhile, the Northwest offense was oh so close to keeping pace with North. Cougar sophomore quarterback Spencer Stewart threw for 366 yards and four touchdowns as he connected with 10 different receivers. However, his numbers would have been more spectacular had those receivers been able to hold on to even more of his accurate passes.
“We had 12 drops,” Northwest head coach Bo Black said. “Anytime we thought we had a chance to dig our way back into it, we were unable to make plays when we needed to.”
The Cougars did not make plays on defense either.
“They (North) are very explosive and we were unable to tackle anybody all night,” Black lamented. “It is impossible to win games when the opponent scores 61 points.”
For the game’s first 16 minutes, it didn’t appear either defense could stop the other teams’ offense as the teams combined to score on the first seven possessions of the game. Midway through the second period North held a narrow 21-18 lead.
However, the Indians would score the game’s next three touchdowns and led 42-18 midway through the third. They pushed the margin to 54-26 with 8:01 left in the game before Northwest threatened with consecutive scores.
North, which improved to 4-3 this year, will host Olathe South in its final regular season game Friday, while Northwest, which dropped to 1-6, closes out its regular season at Olathe North.