Halloween came a week early for Bear Creek's football team.
Late in the first half on Friday night, Lawrence High tricked the Bears from Lakewood, Colo., and fooled most of the 6,000 spectators at Haskell Stadium on a gimmick play for the Lions' fourth touchdown of the second quarter in Lawrence's 35-7 homecoming romp.
LHS quarterback Dain Hammerschmidt faked to Charlie Bremer as the Bears bit on what they thought was a dive play. Hammerschmidt then spun around to his left and handed off to Matt Black, who hesitated and watched Bear Creek's defensive line collapse on Bremer before taking off for a 68-yard touchdown.
"It was the right play at the right time because of the way we were running our offense," LHS coach Dick Purdy explained.
Purdy remembered assistant Jerry Skakal burning the Lions with the play in 1990 when Skakal was Topeka's head coach.
"Coach Skakal scored on us my first year at Lawrence on the same play," Purdy said. "He's quick to remind me."
Black's run -- the Lions' longest play of the season -- provided Lawrence with a commanding 28-0 lead heading into halftime.
"Coach Purdy said it was either going to work or be a dud," Black said. "The trick is to wait as long as you can before taking off. The hardest part was waiting."
The Lions (7-1) finished with 323 yards total offense -- 198 in the first half. Meanwhile, Bear Creek (4-5) managed 234 yards total offense -- just 101 in the decisive first 24 minutes.
Bear Creek's defense was led by lineman Greg Cook and linebacker Garrett Masters.
"No. 50 (Cook) and 99 (Masters) got some pretty fine hits," Purdy said. "Those two guys are a two-man wrecking crew."
Said Hammerschmidt of Bear Creek, "Coach has been pumping us up for this one. They've played some rough teams in Colorado. They were some hard hitters."
Bear Creek has already clinched a berth into Colorado's Class 5A state playoffs, the state's largest division.
How would Lawrence fare in Colorado's big class?
"They'd do all right," Bear Creek coach Tom Thenell said. "We usually see a lot more speed than that."
Bear Creek arrived in Lawrence on Thursday evening and were to leave this morning. On their way back to Colorado, the Bears were going to attend this afternoon's Kansas State-Oklahoma football game in Manhattan.
Lawrence hosted a meal for the Bears at Alvamar Country Club on Thursday and a breakfast on Friday.
"The kids had a really good experience," Purdy said. "It's a financial thing. Every high school team ought to really have a chance to do that. I admire them for going out and looking for a tough team to play.
"Our people did a good job making sure they would have a good time."