Lawrence’s football team on Friday quickly demonstrated that the Lancers will be facing tougher competition than what they saw through the bulk of the regular season in the playoffs. And the Lancers demonstrated just as quickly that they’re prepared to handle it.
[pullquote]SM East defensive end Kyle Ball on preparing for SM West
Click the arrow to hear SM East defensive end Kyle Ball talk about preparing for SM West in sectionals.
[/pullquote]The Lions accomplished something no other team had against SM East this year by scoring an opening drive touchdown that put the Lancers in a 7-0 hole, with Sunflower-league leading rusher J.D. Woods breaking away for a 26 yard run. The Lancers responded by grinding out a touchdown drive of their own, and then scoring four more before the night was over while keeping Lawrence’s offense at bay for a 35-7 playoff-opening win.
The Lancers were up 21-7 with the first half winding down when Lawrence drove down toward the goal line. On a fourth-and-one, SM East’s defense was able to stuff Woods at the line of scrimmage, stemming the scoring threat that would have brought the Lions to within a touchdown at the break.
“That was huge,” Lancers head coach Dustin Delaney said of the stand. “It gave us momentum at half.”
Delaney said his team showed resilience in working through sub-par defensive play in the first half and bouncing back from Lawrence’s touchdown in the first quarter.
“I thought our kids wouldn’t blink, and they didn’t,” he said. “I thought I knew how our kids would react to some adversity, and I was right. Our kids are seasoned, they know bad things happen in games. We just have to know how to rebound, and today we were able to do that.”
The Lancers used a persistent rushing attack to wear down Lawrence’s players — many of whom play on both sides of the ball — and control the clock. The Lancers finished with more than 400 rushing yards, with both Wyatt Edmisten and Sam Huffman scoring two touchdowns. Jackson Gossick scored a touchdown for SM East as well, their first of the night. Edmisten finished the night with 150 yards on 28 carries. Huffman added 124 yard on nine carries, and Gossick had 72 yards on seven carries.
The Regional win advances SM East to Sectionals, where they’ll face a SM West squad that knocked off Olathe South 26-20 on Friday. The Lancers defeated SM West 41-19 in week four in a game that Delaney said was among the toughest the Lancers have played this year.
“They played us extremely hard and they’ve got great athletes,” he said. “And Coach [Tim] Callaghan is one of the best in the state of Kansas. We’re going to have to play our best to beat them.”
SM East will host the Sectionals game at SM North District Stadium at 7 p.m. next Friday.