Lawrence High could be without its No. 1 running back tonight for a key Sunflower League football game against Olathe East at Olathe District Activities Center. Kickoff is 7 p.m.
Brandon McAnderson, a 6-foot, 202-pound senior fullback and linebacker, won't start tonight because of a sore hip flexor and he might not play at all, LHS coach Dirk Wedd said.
"That's huge not having him in there," Wedd said of McAnderson, who leads LHS with 165 rushing yards and three touchdowns. "We feel like he's one of the best backs in the conference. When you lose him, it hurts a great deal."
Also sidelined is junior right tackle Derrick Newman, out with a dislocated shoulder. Andy Flory will replace McAnderson at fullback. Aaron Madill will fill in for McAnderson at linebacker. Xavier Thomas will start for Newman on offense.
The Lions (2-0) could use McAnderson and Newman against the unbeaten Hawks (2-0). O-East has defeated Shawnee Mission South, 21-12, and SM West, 14-0.
"They're an outstanding team," Wedd said. "They're the best team we've played so far. They return eight starters from last year's defense that shut us out (28-0) and you can stop right there. We had one of those games that got off to a bad start and it went downhill fast."
Through two games, O-East ranks No. 2 in the league defending the run (48 yards per game). LHS ranks third in the league in rushing (199.5 per game).
"They're going to be able to play strong defense against us," Wedd said. "We'll try to control the football. It's going to take some points to win it. Our defense will have to step up and hopefully our offense will keep improving."
O-East is led by running backs Seth Day (27 carries for 134 yards) and Joe Gaines (25 for 127).
LHS leads its series with Olathe East, 5-2. ... The Lions have lost seven in a row to the three Olathe schools Olathe East, Olathe North and Olathe South. ... Lawrence's last win over an Olathe school was a 28-7 decision over Olathe South on Oct. 3, 1997. ... LHS senior lineman Cameron Marsh is expected to play tonight after missing the first two games because of a knee injury.