Lawrence High's offensive linemen established themselves early against Shawnee Mission North's massive defensive front.
On the Lions' first play, senior tailback Thomas Daniels broke right and had nowhere to go. He then broke left as all the linemen adjusted and formed a wall. The result was a 59-yard TD run and the Lions went on to win 36-21 over the Indians.
"The offensive line came through really well," said Daniels, finishing with 162 yards and two TDs. "On that first play, they must have known that was going to happen. They had that planned out or something."
The Lions finished with a season-high 358 yards rushing due in large part to Willie McKinnis, Pat Mason, Shane Wedd, Cory Brock and Lee Myers. When a concussion sidelined Brock, Brett Romme filled in.
"They were really big and physical," said Wedd, Lawrence's senior center. "We used probably a little more heart than our quickness and technique. We kept wearing them out."
Brock, Myers and tight end Tobin Ortega created a hole for Daniels' second TD, a 4-yard run with 3:29 left in the first quarter.
"It was unbelievably physical," said Myers, the right tackle. "They beat us to a pulp. They're a great, physical team."
Through six games, the Lions are averaging 277.7 yards rushing to lead the Sunflower League. Against SM North, the Lions averaged 7 yards a carry.
"(Assistant) coach (Dirk) Wedd told us before the game it would be a physical game and we had to prove ourselves and put it to them," said McKinnis, the 5-foot-8, 294-pound left tackle.
Blocks by McKinnis and Ortega keyed a 1-yard TD run by Garrett Attig in the second quarter.
Several Lions were banged up in the contest but McKinnis avoided any serious injury. Brock and Nate Coffman sustained concussions and Ryan Fike separated his right shoulder.
"I came out all right," McKinnis said. "I took a couple of late hits and a couple people face-masked me."