The statistics were staggering.
Lawrence High's football team rushed for 575 yards on 40 plays and had five touchdown runs of 45 yards or more in last year's 45-12 romp of Topeka West.
The Lions, 6-1 and ranked third in Class 6A, meet the 0-7 Chargers tonight at Haskell Stadium in the second week of district. Kickoff for the homecoming contest is 7:30 p.m.
"I think they're a better team than last year," LHS head coach Dick Purdy said. "They're certainly getting ready for the future."
The past has been unkind to the Chargers, entering the game with a 15-game losing streak. They have just five seniors on their roster and three of them play regularly.
"We don't know much about them, except they're young," LHS senior quarterback J.D. Loudabarger said.
Loudabarger and teammates Shane Wedd, Thomas Daniels, Willie McKinnis and Jo-Jo Polk are among eight homecoming king finalists. They won't take part in the halftime ceremonies and will join their teammates in the locker room.
"You just live with the fact there's going to be some distractions," Purdy said of homecoming festivities.
Polk had a heyday against West as a junior. He rushed six times for 202 yards, including TD bursts of 75 and 98 yards.
Lawrence, averaging 313.3 yards rushing a game, could feast again on the Chargers' defense.
"We're going to try to run, control the clock and control the ball," Purdy said.
Daniels leads the team with 69 carries for 764 yards (11.1 per carry) and 10 TD runs. In last week's victory over Leavenworth, Daniels had eight rushes for 141 yards -- 135 in the first quarter.
"Our execution was good against Leavenworth," Purdy said. "We're looking for more of the same on Friday. We feel we're getting better."
The Lions have improved their rushing total in each of the past four weeks in which they've averaged 371.3 yards.
The Lions have won 48 consecutive games over Topeka schools and are 43-0 since the district format began in 1981.
Next week, the Lions play Topeka High at Moore Bowl on the Washburn University campus in Topeka. The winner of that game will likely advance to the state playoffs the following week.
- For a halftime update and the final score, call Access at 865-5000, category 6000.