As his team began celebrating on the field after the Lancers’ 37-27 defeat of Olathe North Friday, a friend of coach Dustin Delaney ran up to him and shouted the word “unbelievable” over and over again.
And when asked what differentiated his team from those who had been eliminated from a shot at the title, Delaney himself used the word again.
“Unbelievable teamwork,” Delaney said. “We’ve had new kids step up every single night. And we’re the ultimate concept of team. All our kids will do anything for each other. The reward is that we get to go to state.”
Indeed, one of the defining aspects of this year’s SM East team is its lack of a true “star.” A check of individual season stats through the Sectionals round produces a notable lack of SM East players at the top of any category. Luke Taylor was among the top three running backs in the league with 1,102 yards and 11 touchdowns – but the Lancers don’t have a player among the top five in passing or receiving yards.
Yes, there are players whose names found their way into the box score more frequently than others over the course of the season. But, from game to game, it seemed an entirely new set of players would account for the key plays that secured the win.
SM East doesn’t beat Olathe Northwest without Alec Dean pulling in a bobbled ball after Christian Blessen’s Hail Mary.
SM East doesn’t beat Olathe North in the regular season without Dominique Atkinson’s fourth quarter safety.
SM East doesn’t beat SM South without Luke Taylor running in for an overtime touchdown.
And if the Lancers are going to finish the mission they started and bring home the first football title in SM East history, you’d better believe it’s going to be a true team effort on Saturday.
Congrats on an amazing season so far, Lancers. Go beat Derby together.