by David Brox, firstname.lastname@example.org
Getting to the playoffs is one thing but consistently finding success is another. This mystery at least over the last 3 seasons at Piper has been solved 11 times. Piper claimed their 12th playoff win after molly whopping Spring Hill 33-0. A team led by a strong defense has seen its offense explode to the tune of 252-46 over the last 5 games. I asked Coach Chris Brindle about the philosophy they use to find playoff success.
“Each year we put a lot of emphasis on trying to improve each week with the understanding that we want to be playing our best football by the time we get to District play.” explained Brindle.
That process for this year’s team started last season when he along with his staff decided to play a lot of young players after a rocky start to 2013.
Brindle said, “We must develop the players we have and we have to do a lot of that development during the early season games.”
That decision propelled them to a nice playoff run last year and a 9-1 record this season. Piper will line up Friday against Paola, the team that knocked them out of the 2013 playoffs 27-21. I asked Colton Beebe if the team will use last year as motivation.
“Last year was last year and there are different players.” explained Beebe, “We are just focused on winning the game.”
Paola would stand to play right into the strength of Piper’s defense. The Pirates have seen the flex option offense twice this year in meetings against Basehor-Liwnood and Turner. Piper was able to throttle both of those teams but should expect more of a test from Paola just from an execution standpoint. The two games Piper played against this offense were first year implementations from both teams. Paola will obviously be a bit more polished.
My confidence in Piper however is incredibly high. The Pirates own wins against 2 teams that beat Paola specifically Spring Hill. Baldwin was also able to win against Paola. Baldwin specifically found success on the defensive side of the ball which as we all know is a strength of Piper’s. Coach Brindle however knows that he is facing one of the best 4A programs in the area.
“Paola’s program has set the standard that most 4A schools in the eastern part of the state try to reach.” explained Brindle, “They have been to the Final Four in 5 of the last 6 seasons.”
I want to offer up some numbers to keep an eye on.
#27: Sterling Owens from Piper is averaging 9.9 yards per carry for the Pirates. With only 96 carries coming into the game is hopefully fresh and ready to continue his torrid pace.
The key for the defense is going to be to get Paola behind the chains. Piper is the run away leader in our area in regards to tackles for loss.
#59 and #44: Jaelon Johnson leads the area with 23 tackles for loss and his partner and defensive dynamo Colton Beebe has 22. It will be important for them to build on these numbers in this game. Beebe is making sure that the team is focused and ready.
“Each game we are saying we can’t have this be our last.” said Beebe, “We are making sure everyone puts everything they have out on the field.”
#17: Sean Pahls comes into the game with 15 sacks. Couple that with Kilil Richard’s 7 sacks and you have a dynamic duo on each edge of the defensive line.
Piper is one of the most complete teams that I have seen in the last few years. 13 members of the Pirates were named to the KVL team and all will have to help get the team off to a great start Friday. The biggest fear for any Pirate fan is seeing the team get behind. They did a good job against Bonner Springs but with the pressure of the playoffs I would be uncomfortable if they got down by more than 2 scores.
My last number is #14 which is the margin of victory I expect for the Pirates.
LET’S GO PIRATES!