Lawrence High football coach Dick Purdy isn't fooled by Shawnee Mission West's 0-4 record, which includes three setbacks to the top three teams in the Sunflower League.
SM West, the Lions' opponent for Friday night's 7:30 kickoff at Haskell Stadium, opened the season with a two-point loss to Leavenworth. Since, the Vikings have lost to Olathe East and Olathe North, the lone undefeated teams in the league, and to Shawnee Mission South, 20-17, in overtime last week.
"They've played all of them tough," said Purdy, whose team will play a winless team for the third consecutive week. "They always play Lawrence extremely well."
The Lions, 3-1 and a game behind Olathe East and Olathe North in the Sunflower League race, have won two straight games. They allowed their opponents one touchdown in each of the contests.
On Friday, Lawrence's defense will have to contend with the most productive passing team in the league.
West quarterback junior Zak Richmond leads the conference in passing. Richmond has completed 40 of 88 passes for 596 yards. He has four TD passes and been picked off three times.
Richmond spreads his throws around. Mackie Valentin (15 receptions, 313 yards, three TDs), Sean Simoneau (five receptions, 147 yards, two TDs) and Brennan Wrecke (15 receptions, 133 yards) are the targets.
Meanwhile, the Vikings' running game has floundered. West averaged 32.3 yards rushing and one TD in its first four games.
Purdy is also concerned with the Vikings' defense.
"Their defense is tough and complex," Purdy said. "They use a lot of different alignments and stunts."
Lawrence counters with an offense averaging 23.5 points and 300 yards a game. Senior tailback John Karr leads the team in rushing with 520 yards and six touchdowns.
Karr is one of eight Lions starting on offense and defense. Purdy wants more players to see action midway through the season.
"We don't have enough guys stepping up to fill in," Purdy said. " We're searching and hoping sooner or later somebody is going to step up and give us some backup help so we can get a lot of fresh guys in the game."
Purdy is seeking his 50th victory as LHS head coach. Purdy, who has a 49-3 record in 4 1/2 years, is attempting to reach the milestone quicker than any of his predecessors.
Brent Pickert, who has started at tight end the past two weeks, is listed as doubtful for Friday because of a groin injury he sustained in Tuesday's practice.
For a halftime update and the final score, call the J-W Sports Connection, 865-5000, category 6000.