With a 36-14 win over Leavenworth Friday, the SM East Lancers took a step forward in the playoffs – and into the school’s history books.
Now 9-1, the 2013 Lancers are the school’s winningest squad ever. SM East won eight games in 2010, which became the school record at the time.
“East has not been known for football through the school’s history,” said first-year head coach Dustin Delaney. “To be able to set the record is exciting. Our seniors, it’s something they’re going to remember for the rest of their lives.”
The Lancers put in one of their more complete offensive games of the season despite the absence of starting quarterback Christian Blessen, who was sidelined with injury. But junior Gunnar Englund stepped into the role with impressive poise after a sometimes shaky debut last week against SM North, demonstrating remarkable throwing accuracy and power.
On two occasions, however, the Lancers receivers failed to take advantage of Englund’s precision through the air, letting perfect passes bounce off their chests and on to the turf.
“We had two big drops that probably would have been touchdowns,” Delaney said. “Gunnar played unbelievable. He did everything we asked him to do. He threw the ball on the money.”
Next week, the Lancers will face a 7-3 Olathe East team that knocked off favored Gardner-Edgerton Friday 19-7. Despite being the higher seed in the bracket, SM East will travel next week, and the game will be played in Olathe. Delaney said Blessen’s status for that game is unknown.
Lawrence Free State and Olathe North each advanced Friday, as well. The top seeded Firebirds will travel to Olathe for Sectionals next week.