At the end of the Lancers’ win over SM North last week, a frustrated head coach Dustin Delaney laid into his team for a night’s worth of blunders. They hadn’t covered passing routes. They’d missed easy tackles. Play like that again, he warned, and your season will be over.
The message appears to have hit home.
On Friday, the Lancers looked to be back in championship form as they executed an impressive win over Blue Valley Northwest in the opening round of the state 6A playoffs. The Lancers, the number two seed in the east, used a grinding running attack punctuated by big breakout plays to put down the Huskies 49-13.
“We played a lot better,” Delaney said. “Our kids played and competed extremely hard. They were focused all week. And we’re going to carry that over to next week.”
The 2-7 Huskies came out of the gate looking as though they planned to push the Lancers as the Indians had the week before, scoring an easy touchdown on the opening drive of the game. After the Lancers tied the game on a short run from Jack Tyler and then took a 14-7 lead on a keeper from quarterback Luke Kaiser, Huskies’ wide receiver Conner Hall reeled in a spectacular catch for a 76-yard touchdown to bring the score to 14-13.
“Northwest has the best athletes of any 2-7 team I’ve ever seen,”
“They’ve got some good players, and we knew it wasn’t going to be a ‘They’re going to roll over and die’ kind of deal.'”
After Hall’s touchdown, the Lancers would yield no additional scoring opportunities to the Huskies, and turned to running backs Wyatt Edmisten and Mike Bamford to beat down the Huskies defense. Edmisten finished the night with four touchdowns and more than 175 yards on 33 carries. Bamford helped the Lancers cause with several big plays, including a 64-yard run to set up the Lancers’ first touchdown, a 30-yard run to set up their second, and a 32-yard catch to set up their third. He finished the night with 146 yards on nine carries.
SM East will face a familiar postseason opponent next week in the quarterfinal round in 9-1 Olathe North, which beat Blue Valley North 35-28 in a closely contested game Friday.
Northeast Johnson County’s other 6A team saw its season come to a close Friday as SM North fell 56-32 to undefeated Lawrence, the top seed in the west. As they did the week before against the Lancers, though, the Indians put pressure on the Lawrence defense in a way the Chesty Lions hadn’t seen all year. The Indians 32 points is more than any opponent has scored against Lawrence in 2015. The Indians finished the year 3-7.