KAPLAN — The No. 9 Kaplan High School football team advanced to the second round of the Class 3A state football playoffs Friday night with a 24-7 victory over Brusly.
The Pirates (8-3) received a huge boost from Grant Frick. The running back, who missed the last half of the regular season with a broken collarbone, rushed for 166 yards and two touchdowns and added 38 receiving yards and another score.
Frick tallied four carries of more than 25 yards and averaged 11.1 yards per carry in the victory against the 24th-seeded Panthers (5-6).
Brusly struck early with an 70-yard, 11-play drive capped with a 1-yard run by running back Zavian Bell.
The drive received a big boost a few plays earlier on a 33-yard run by Bell that had put the Panthers on the Kaplan 11-yard line.
It didn’t take long for the Pirates to respond. Four plays later, Kaplan quarterback found Frick — who had broken out for a 31-yard run the play before — got loose for a 29-yard touchdown. Frick then converted the two-point conversion on a run.
The Panthers seemed poised to score again and regain the lead, but the Pirates forced a fumble and regained possession at their own 28.
Frick once again made quick work of the Brusly defense, breaking off a carries of 31 yards and 28 yards, the latter for a touchdown that gave Kaplan a 16-7 lead after Frick ran it in for another two-point conversion.
Kaplan looked to extend its lead late in the second quarter, but fumbled the ball 7 yards away from the end zone with less than a minute remaining in the half, limiting its lead to nine points going into the locker room.
The Pirates made up for the mistake on the first drive of the third quarter, however, thanks to a 30-yard run by running back Julius Johnson followed by another 28-yard rush by Frick.
After allowing the Panthers to score on the first drive of the game, Kaplan’s defense kept Brusly at bay the rest of the game.
The Pirates limited Brusly to 276 yards of total offense and forced three turnovers.
Kaplan also received a boost from Johnson, who finished the game with 139 yards on 25 carries. The Pirates finished the contest with 393 total yards, 340 on the ground.