Bear Creek, a football team from Lakewood, Colo., didn't have much time to go sightseeing during its brief visit to Lawrence.
The Bears won't recommend Haskell Stadium and a Lawrence High homecoming crowd of 6,000 as a tourist attraction. They had a lousy time on Friday night as Lawrence bruised the Bears, 35-7, in the Lions' first contest against an out-of-state school in the 105-year history of the program.
"So far that's our best game of the year," said LHS coach Dick Purdy, whose team has won seven in a row to improve to 7-1. "I was really pleased with the way our secondary played."
The Lions' secondary intercepted four passes -- two by senior cornerback Nate Coffman -- from Bears' quarterback Ricky Rahne. Two of the picks led to LHS scores.
The Bears (4-5) also fumbled twice, leading to two more LHS touchdowns.
"We played just absolutely horrible offensively," Bear Creek coach Tom Thenell said. "We just turned the ball over, and we can't do that. We gave four scores off turnovers and another going for it on fourth down. We made way too many mistakes."
Lawrence erupted for 28 points on four consecutive series in the second quarter. Matt Black's interception late in the first period at the Bears' 39 set up the Lions' first TD, a one-yard run by running back Charlie Bremer with 9:04 left in the first half.
Coffman's first interception led to the next score, a 28-yard TD burst by quarterback Dain Hammerschmidt.
On the ensuing kickoff, Lawrence's Mark Unruh caused Bear Creek's Jeff Gloy to fumble and Lion Jon Penny recovered at the Bears' 19. Lawrence was pushed back 13 yards before Hammerschmidt connected with Coffman for a 32-yard TD pass on third and 23 with 5:06 left.
"We had a bad week of practice but strapped it on and played well," Coffman said. "It was a big night for us. We met the challenge."
Bear Creek turned the ball over on downs with 1:54 left in the half. Three plays later, Black broke loose for a 68-yard TD run -- the Lions' longest play of the season. Hammerschmidt faked to Bremer before spinning left and handing off to Black.
"We struggled yesterday at practice and extended our team meeting," said Black, who finished with 10 carries and a career-high 109 yards. "I think we got focused and everything went right for us."
Bear Creek's final possession of the first half ended with Jeff Randel's interception at the Lions' 15.
"We got interceptions and got pressure from our linemen," Purdy said.
LHS defensive end Todd Mihalchik caused and recovered a fumble in the end zone with 1:55 left in the third quarter for the Lions' final score. LHS punter Adrian Garcia had pinned the Bears at their two-yard line after a 43-yard kick.
Rahne's three-yard run early with 11:21 left in the fourth quarter prevented the Bears from being shut out.
Gloy finished with 22 carries and 125 yards to lead the Bears.
Purdy believed Bear Creek enjoyed its 600-mile trip to Lawrence
"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."
The Lions will resume district play next Friday at Haskell against winless Leavenworth, a 36-32 loser to Topeka on Friday night.