2020 Jackson Heights Regional Football @ Olpe Nov. 6
Jackson Heights High School’s varsity football season came to an end Nov. 6 in the regional round of the Class 1A state playoffs with the Cobras’ second loss of the season to a top-ranked and unbeaten Olpe football team, ending what Head Coach Caleb Wick called “a different season” with a 4-5 overall record.
“I wouldn’t say it was a letdown,” Coach Wick said of the 53-0 loss at Olpe, the second time this year that the Eagles shut out the Cobras. “At the end of the day, we are grateful to have played an entire season this year and played out our schedule. Not every team can say that. We were also able to play against top competition this year.”
The loss — following the Eagles’ 35-0 win over the Cobras earlier this year — brought the high school football careers of seniors Dylan Thompson, Taylor Wamego, Colby Doyle and Jason White to a close. Wick said he was proud of the work the seniors had put in this year.
“Each senior left everything out on the field Friday night and played a great football game,” Wick said. “We are going to miss all the seniors greatly next year, because each of them helped this team during the course of the season.”
For Wick and the Cobras, the game got off to a promising start when, on the Eagles’ first drive, the Cobra defense was able to limit them to three points — Olpe capped a 10-minute, 70-yard drive with a Gabriel Castillo field goal.
“We started off the way we wanted,” Wick said of the Eagles’ first drive. “We made them take a lot of time on their first drive and only come away with three points.”
The Cobras, led by returning junior quarterback Jason Bosley, responded with a three-and-out that saw Olpe return a high punt to the Cobras’ 42-yard line. The Eagles returned to the Cobra end zone on a six-yard pass from quarterback Damon Redeker to Jordan Barnard, and Castillo’s PAT kick put the score at 10-0 with 10 minutes left in the first half.
Then, Wick said, “the wheels kind of fell off for us.” The next Cobra drive was also a three-and-out, ending on a bobbled punt that saw Olpe return the ball to the Cobra 25; three plays later, Redeker hit Barnard again, this time from 20 yards out to take the score to 17-0 following another Castillo PAT.
The Cobras then returned what appeared to be an onside kick to their own 45, then picked up the first first-down of the game on a Bosley 17-yard pass to sophomore Alex Browning that put Jackson Heights in Olpe territory.
That was as far as they got before Barnard turned a JH pass into a pick-six — the first of two such occasions in a three-minute period — that saw the Eagles take a 31-0 lead with two minutes left in the half.
The Cobras’ final possession of the first half saw them turning the ball over on downs at their own 45 with just 44 seconds left in the half. Olpe took advantage of the field position and returned to the end zone one more time on a QB keeper, putting the halftime score at 38-0 after another Castillo PAT.
“We just couldn’t get the offense moving in the right direction,” Wick said. “We had too many turnovers, and we weren’t able to move the football.”
The Cobras’ first possession of the third quarter was another three-and-out, and the ensuing punt landed at the Cobra 45. That resulted in another Olpe score, with Redeker taking a five-yard QB keeper and the two-point conversion into the end zone, putting the score at 46-0 with less than eight minutes left in the third.
Another three-and-out followed for the Cobras, and that led to yet another Olpe score, this time on a Kynden Robert TD run from 35 yards out, followed by another Castillo PAT kick to boost the Eagles’ lead to 53-0 with 4:13 left in the third.
That was all the scoring for the night, as the Cobras were unable to capitalize on their next possession, turning the ball over on downs at their own 41. The Eagles followed that by a four-and-out that gave the Cobras the ball at their own 35 with 10 minutes left in the game.
Another intercepted JH pass that could have put more points on the board for Olpe was recalled on a holding penalty, and that was followed by another Olpe penalty, this time an unsportsmanlike conduct call that turned a punt fake situation into a first down for the Cobras.
From there, the Cobras were able to pick up another first down on a 18-yard pass from Bosley to junior Silas Holliday, but with three minutes left on a rolling clock and three more incomplete JH passes, the Cobras were unable to make anything of the final drive.
Olpe’s defense held Jackson Heights to a total of 52 offensive yards during the game, including minus-2 yards on rushing and 54 yards in the passing game.
Thompson and Wyatt Bacon each picked up eight yards in the ground game, but sophomore Alex Browning’s lone carry resulted in a loss of two yards and Bosley’s three carries resulted in a loss of 12 yards.
Bosley was better in the air, going seven for 19 and netting 54 yards despite the two interceptions in the second quarter. Holliday led with 23 yards on two receptions, while junior Grant Amon picked up 18 yards on three receptions and Browning picked up 13 yards on two receptions.
Defensively, Wamego and Doyle each racked up five tackles and two assists, Bosley contributed four tackles and an assist and juniors Wyatt Bacon and Ian Anderson each picked up three tackles and two assists.
The win gave Olpe its 10th win of the season and enabled the Eagles to advance to the sectional playoffs on Friday. The Eagles will host Uniontown (6-4), which beat Arma-Northeast (1-6) 45-0 during their regional game this past Friday.
In the meantime, Wick is looking forward to next year after a tumultuous season that saw the Cobras sidelined by a COVID-19 quarantine at the outset.
“This was a different season for sure,” he said. “We never really got everything put together. Quarantining at the beginning of the season definitely did not help us with our younger offensive linemen and team cohesiveness.”
But he remains hopeful that those younger players will build on that experience when they return — hopefully without COVID-19 as a hindrance — in 2021.
“You never want the season to end, but with that, you look at the future and all the groundwork the seniors put in to help all the underclassmen prepare,” Wick said. “We have a great amount of talent coming back next year, and with a good off-season, I think it could be a really fun year.”
Of the nine years that Wick has coached the Cobras, they have reached the state playoffs six times.
Class 1A Regional Scores
Olpe 53, Jackson Heights 0
Uniontown 45, Arma-Northeast 0
Centralia 52, Wabaunsee 6
Lyndon 47, Jefferson Co. North 22
Smith Center 34, Ell-Saline 10
Sedgwick 27, Oakley 24
Conway Springs 14, Plainville 7
Inman 50, Remington 6