Topeka Lawrence High's football team defined ball control on Friday night against Topeka High during its 27-6 victory over the Trojans at Moore Bowl on the Washburn University campus.
The Lions rushed 62 times for 351 yards and had four drives last eight plays or more, including a 19-play series that consumed nine minutes, 18 seconds in the second half.
"Basically our offense was our defense," LHS offensive lineman Shane Wedd said. "If they didn't have the ball they couldn't score. That's what we tried to do."
The win advanced Lawrence to the Class 6A state playoffs for the 15th consecutive season. The Lions (8-1) will play Blue Valley Northwest (8-1) next Friday at Blue Valley. Northwest qualified for the playoffs despite a 9-7 loss to Shawnee Mission West on Friday.
Senior fullback Garrett Attig rushed 26 times for 114 yards and had all four LHS touchdowns plus a two-point conversion run to account for 26 points.
"It had to be," LHS head coach Dick Purdy said of Lawrence controlling the ball. "Look how fast they can go up and down the field."
The Trojans went three and out on their first possession. On their next series, though, Topeka drove 60 yards in seven plays in 2 1/2 minutes.
Quarterback Layne Keller connected with junior wide receiver Termaine Fulton two times for 57 yards to set up the Trojans' lone score.
"Wow!" Purdy said of Fulton, who finished with seven catches for 133 yards and returned a kickoff 69 yards. "He can play football."
Fulton had 111 receiving yards in the first half and was limited to just two catches for 22 yards in the second half.
"That was probably the worst footbal game I've seen in my life," frustrated Topeka head coach Frank Walton said. "We could not get the ball. We couldn't stop them. Their linemen were a lot more physical than we were."
The Lions countered Topeka's drive with an 11-play, 65-yard drive to extend their lead to 13-6.
The Trojans threatened on their next possession, driving to Lawrence's 40. However, on third-and-three, LHS defensive tackle Lee Myers stuck Josh Kenoly for a two-yard loss on a busted reverse play. On fourth-and-five at the Lions' 42, LHS defensive back Bryce Crady sacked Keller for a six-yard loss.
"That gave us a lot of momentum," Myers said of the defensive stand. "That could have been the biggest point of the game."
Following Topeka's turnover on downs, Lawrence drove 52 yards in six plays to extend its lead to 21-6 with 39 seconds left.
On the ensuing kickoff, Fulton broke loose for a 69-yard return to give the Trojans another opportunity. However, Nate Coffman's coverage of Fulton in the end zone, Pat Mason's sack of Keller for a four-yard loss and Jeff Randel's sack for a five-yard loss prevented the Trojans from scoring.
In the third quarter, Topeka opened with a 12-play drive but stalled at Lawrence's 10 when Keller's pass attempt for Fulton fell short.
"He could've run it in and Termaine was wide open," Walton said.
Starting at their 10, the Lions used 19 plays before turning the ball over on downs at Topeka's 27.