Rankings and records aside, Lawrence High and Olathe North will be remarkably evenly matched when they clash tonight in the Class 6A state quarterfinals.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at Haskell Stadium.
Top-rated Lawrence enters with an 8-1 record, unranked O-North at 6-3.
But O-North has won six in a row, and are statistically similar to the Lions. For example, at the end of the regular season:
LHS led the Sunflower League in total offense (378 yards a game), rushing offense (318 yards/game) and scoring 34.4 points/game). Olathe North was second in total yards (274), third in rushing offense (218) and second in scoring (25.9).
The Eagles ranked No. 1 in the league in total defense (allowing 173 yards a game), rushing defense (91 yards/game) and scoring defense (giving 10 points/game). The Lions were third in all three categories, allowing an average of 210 total yards, 149 rushing yards and 13.6 points each time out.
When the two quarterfinalists met in the second game of the season, LHS dropped the Eagles, 28-7.
Lawrence High's only loss was in the fourth game of the season, a 39-36 three-overtime tumble to Shawnee Mission Northwest. O-North, meanwhile, clobbered SM Northwest, 21-7, in its sixth outing of the year.
"They'll see that Northwest beat us and that they they humbled Northwest pretty good," Lion coach Dick Purdy said. "They'll make some conclusions from that. But they can talk all they want to. This is going to be a big ballgame."
The survivor will travel to meet the winner between SM South, 6-3, and Blue Valley North, 6-3, next Friday. In the other two 6A quarterfinals, fourth-ranked Topeka West, 8-1, is at Emporia, 7-2; and Derby, 9-0, travels to No. 2-ranked Garden City, 8-1.