Lawrence High's football team apparently fears no fourth-and-short situation.
The Lions converted four times on five fourth-down calls in Friday's 20-12 loss to Olathe North, including twice on fourth-and-one during the opening drive to sustain a 24-play, 12-minute, 29-second series to open the game.
The first fourth-down conversion came on fourth-and-inches at O-North's 29-yard line. Despite the field position, LHS coach Dick Purdy went for it because he believed the Lions would deliver.
``It doesn't make any difference what the books say to do,'' said Purdy, whose team is now 2-3. ``You know the kids, you work with them all week long and you know what they're capable of. If you think they're capable of getting that yard you give them that opportunity to hang on to the football.''
Lawrence's long drive reached O-North's one-yard line before a fumble on fourth down ended the series.
``That was a heartbreaker not to score on that drive,'' Purdy said. ``The positives are that Olathe North didn't have the ball.''
On the next series, the Lions cashed in on fourth-and-eight at O-North's 32 when slotback Simon Cordova passed to receiver Antonio Glover for a touchdown. For the season, LHS is 13-for-18 in fourth-down situations (72 percent).
LHS averaged 3.8 yards a play against O-North. Meanwhile, the Eagles averaged 6.5 yards a play.
``I really liked the way we played,'' Purdy said. ``I was really pleased with the effort they put out there and how hard they played. If they continue to do that we'll get some wins. While they can't mow anybody over, they'll concentrate and work hard. We can inch it up the field a little bit at a time.''
Purdy credited Lawrence's offensive line -- senior Kurt Wenger (6-foot-2, 225-pound senior), junior Beau Wenger (6-2, 227), junior Nick Gregory (6-0, 225), senior Frank Salb (6-1, 191) and senior Dustin Myers (5-11, 181) -- for allowing the Lions to manage the clock.
``We had to be extremely careful not to throw them into a mismatch with Olathe North's linemen,'' Purdy said. ``You have to pick and choose the plays that you run, when you run them and consider different angles and alignments.''
Other than a penalty on a kickoff that sailed out of bounds, LHS wasn't flagged against O-North.
``It shows you that they had their mind on what they were doing,'' Purdy said.
The Lions rushed for 189 yards against the Eagles. LHS fullback Tony Thomas had 25 carries for 81 yards, his highest output since gaining 144 yards in the season-opener.
LHS will play Olathe South on Thursday at Olathe District Activities Center. Kickoff is 7 p.m.