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Archive for Saturday, September 18, 1999

BIG PLAYS OVERWHELM LHS

September 18, 1999

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Shawnee Mission West quarterback Andy Major threw touchdown passes of 55, 44 56 and 37 yards.

When Shawnee Mission West orders touchdowns, it asks for them super-sized.

The Vikings burned Lawrence High with big play after big play Friday night en route to a 48-36 Sunflower League football victory over the Lions at Haskell Stadium.

Here's the rundown of West's TD plays:

  • An 81-yard punt return by Paul Vassor following the Lions' first possession.
  • Quarterback Andy Majors had touchdown passes of 55, 44, 56 and 37 yards. Vassor was on the receiving end of the 44- and 56-yarder. Tight end Ben Sutherlin caught the other two TD passes.
  • James Churchill's 41-yard run down the right sideline following a pitch from Majors late in the first half. Churchill, who finished with a game-high 114 rushing yards, tacked on a "puny" eight-yard run with 4:30 left for West's last score.

LHS (1-2) hung with the explosive Vikings (3-0) through 3 1/2 quarters before two late West scores defused the Lions' hopes of a comeback.

"We're not that type of football team," said LHS coach Dirk Wedd, whose team scored a total of just 31 points in the first two games. "We can't outscore people like that. We have to play better defense, control the football and not give up big plays. They've got two or three fine athletes. We helped on the opening punt. When you put a Div. I player (Vassor) on the field, he's going to stick out."

Vassor, a 6-foot-1, 190-pound senior, finished with 181 all-purpose yards with the two long TD receptions and punt return.

Majors, a 6-1, 170-pound junior and first-year starter, completed six of 11 passes -- four for touchdowns -- for 237 yards. He entered the contest with six completions for 87 yards.

"Andy Majors played a fantastic game tonight and the receivers just made plays," West coach Jon Krug said. "Offensively, we thought we could do a lot of things and we wanted to throw the ball against them. That was in the game plan. That's the hardest I've worked for 48 points."

Lawrence's first three opponents amassed 639 passing yards.

"We have to put more heat on the passer," Wedd said. "I don't know if we ever touched him (Majors)."

The Vikings led 35-21 after three quarters. The Lions pulled within seven points -- 35-28 -- with 9:29 left when senior fullback Justin Lorenzo broke loose up the middle for a 15-yard touchdown and senior Blake Allen booted the PAT.

Following Lorenzo's second TD, SM West struck on its next two series to remain unbeaten.

"I knew they'd throw football," Wedd said. "We've been giving up some yards. I thought we played at a high Sunflower League level for 39 minutes when we were down by seven. We're making strides, it's just not fast enough."

The Lions finished with a season-high 429 yards offense -- 147 passing and 282 yards rushing.

LHS senior Donovan Romero had 81 yards rushing and 81 yards receiving.

"I just try to concentrate more on the game," Romero said. "We didn't execute very well on a lot of plays. We're going to work harder and start over Monday.

LHS senior Jason Fender finished with a team-high 82 yards rushing and a TD before being injured late in the third quarter while defending Vassor on a fly pattern.

Allen, 4-for-4 on PATs against West, recorded his first touchdown when quarterback Bryce McMichael connected with him on a seven-yard TD pass on fourth down with 2:53 left in the first half.

"They have very good athletes," Allen said of West. "If we've got to score 49 points, we've got to score 49 points."

The 84 combined points scored was the most in an LHS contest since the Lions trounced Topeka High, 66-30, on Oct. 21, 1988.

SM West has now won three in a row over the Lions.

Next for LHS is Shawnee Mission South Thursday at SM South District Stadium. Kickoff is 7 p.m.

-- Steve Rottinghaus' phone message number is 832-7152. His e-mail address is srottinghaus@ljworld.com

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