Friday is going to be a big one for members of the Shawnee Mission East community.
The annual Lancer Day Parade, traditionally held the afternoon before the football team’s first home game, is a significant enough deal as it is. Couple that with the fact that the 2-0 Lancers will be facing off against arch-rival Rockhurst for just the second time in three decades, and you’ve got the makings for high school hysteria.
Last year, the Lancers took on the Hawklets in football for the first time since 1982, visiting the lively environs of Rockhursts’s Vincent P. Dasta Memorial Stadium. They got off to a dreary start, botching a pitch on their opening possession that led to an early Hawklets touchdown. Though the Lancers went on to turn the ball over five more times that night, they mounted a comeback that had them in a position to tie the game in the closing minutes — falling just short and losing 26-20.
Lancers head coach Dustin Delaney says that if his team hopes to win the back half of this highly anticipated home-and-home series, they’ll need to play a much cleaner game.
“They’re good everywhere, they’re deep all over,” Delaney said. “They don’t make a lot of mistakes. Last year we made a whole bunch of mistakes. Our guys know that if we’re going to win this, we have to play clean.”
Though Delaney says the team and staff approach Rockhurst just like they do every opponent, he knows that the atmosphere will be more spirited than an average game.
“I think we could play them in any sport, and it would be a fun rivalry, because our guys all know each other,” he said. “It is fun for the community to have a rivalry game like that. It’s as close to a big playoff game as you can get in the regular season.”
Folks interested in a festive atmosphere won’t have to wait until the 7 p.m. kickoff at SM North District Stadium, though.
The annual Lancer Day Parade will start making its way down Mission Road from 75th Street at 2 p.m. The parade will feature floats from SM East student clubs and sports teams, as well as the marching band and ROTC color guard. The event culminates with a rally underneath the Village Shops clocktower.
A couple of updates on this year’s parade:
- Parents of young children take note: The good people at Colonial Church, at 71st Street and Mission, will be opening up their restrooms and water fountains to the public during the parade.
- SM East senior Ava Backer has organized an effort to raise funds for Rockport-Fulton High School in Texas, which was massively damaged by Hurricane Harvey. Students will be carrying large green neon water jugs along the parade route to collect donations for the school. Backer’s group will also be accepting donations for Rockport at the entrance of the game Friday night, where there will also be a table manned by the pep club to collect school supplies for the school.