Lancer faithful gather for Homecoming bonfire ahead of big game against Free State

Hundreds of students and parents gathered on the Shawnee Mission East softball field for the annual Homecoming bonfire.
Hundreds of students and parents gathered on the Shawnee Mission East softball field for the annual Homecoming bonfire.

The Shawnee Mission East community on Thursday gathered for what’s become an annual Homecoming tradition: the school bonfire on the softball field.

But while the event itself may be increasingly familiar, the school and its fans have rarely had an event as big to get “fired up” (HA!) for: SM East on Friday will put its best-in-the-Sunflower-League 5-0 record on the line against a second place, 4-1 Lawrence Free State Squad that many consider to be among the most talented in the state.

So student leaders and administrators worked to rally the troops Thursday, hoping to spur a huge crowd to make its way out to SM North District Stadium for tonight’s game — which will also feature the crowning of the Homecoming Queen and her court at half time.

The bonfire rally featured pep talks from some of the football team’s leaders, as well as principal John McKinney:

The event ended with a huge fireworks display (if you were wondering what all the commotion was about around 9 p.m.)

SM East players will be wearing a yellow “29” on the backs of their helmets tonight in honor of SM West’s Andre Maloney, the talented wide receiver who passed away last week after suffering a stroke during a game.

Kickoff is 7 p.m. See you all out there!

Lancer Gridiron Club dads keep the bonfire blazing.
Lancer Gridiron Club dads keep the bonfire blazing.