In preparations for Olathe Northwest, Lancers focus on themselves — and not Chip Sherman

The Lancers have been practicing hard this week in preparation for Friday's home opener against Olathe Northwest — and former SM East head coach Chip Sherman.
The Lancers have been practicing hard this week in preparation for Friday’s home opener against Olathe Northwest — and former SM East head coach Chip Sherman.

The storyline is hard to ignore: Former Lancers head coachChip Sherman left the program in a lurch last season by abruptly departing for Olathe Northwest. On Friday, a resurgent Shawnee Mission East team is set meet Sherman and his Ravens in the Lancers’ first home game of the season.

So has Chip Sherman been a topic of conversation on the Lancer training field this week as SM East readies itself to take on Olathe Northwest Friday?

No way. Not even close.

“Absolutely not,” said SM East coach Dustin Delaney, who has piloted his upstart squad to impressive wins in its first two games. “Coach Sherman has nothing to do with this team. We’re focusing on ourselves and what we can do to win the game.”

Which is not to say the team is ignoring Sherman entirely. Delaney said the squad this week has been preparing to defend against Sherman’s pass-happy offense, the same one that powered the Lancers’ attack for four seasons. Not surprisingly, two of the top five receivers in the Sunflower League through the first two weeks of the season are on Olathe Northwest. Delaney knows stymieying the Ravens passing game will be key to taking the victory.

But perhaps more important, he says, will be reducing his own offense’s self-inflicted wounds. Delaney’s option offense confounded Leavenworth and Lawrence in weeks one and two, with the Lancers putting up 34 and 26 points, respectively. But the team also gave up eight fumbles.

“And not one of them was forced,” Delaney said. “We’re on our way to being a good offense. But we’re not there yet. It’s part of the growing pains with the option. But we’ve got to get better at holding on to the ball.”

SM East and Olathe Northwest kick off against each other at 7 p.m. Friday at SM North Stadium.