Turns out the first round of the state playoffs wasn't the final high school game for Josh Lawrence and Dain Dillingham, after all.
Dillingham, a Free State High senior, and Lawrence, a Lawrence High senior, each were selected to participate in the 31st annual Kansas Shrine Bowl next summer in Emporia.
Both Dillingham and Lawrence were invited onto the East squad, which consists of nine players from the Sunflower League.
Lawrence, a 6-foot-3, 220-pounder, earned numerous honors for his work on the LHS defensive line this year, but also was an effective-when-needed tight end. He caught just nine passes for 94 yards, mainly because the LHS gameplan focuses almost solely on the run.
Still, Lawrence never complained.
"He never said a word," LHS coach Dirk Wedd said. "When we moved him from defensive end to defensive tackle, he never said a word. He's very much a team player. He wants what's best for Lawrence High."
Dillingham, one of the state's top wide receivers, caught 42 passes -- many of them in highlight-reel fashion -- for 715 yards and six touchdowns for Free State, which finished 5-5. His tremendous leaping ability and great hands caught the eye of several major colleges, including Kansas University and Minnesota.
"It's a fun time for everybody, and it's for a very good cause," FSHS coach Bob Lisher said. "To be able to put his athletic ability to use for a great cause, that's very valuable."
Also earning an invitation to the East squad is Baldwin's Micah Mason. The Bulldogs' super senior rushed for 2,011 yards and 27 touchdowns this season, leading Baldwin to a 9-3 record and state quarterfinal appearance.
All profits from the Shrine Bowl will benefit the Shiners Hospitals for Children, which gives free medical care and treatment to Kansas youths on the basis of medical need.
Dillingham, Lawrence and Mason will be officially invited to participate in the game by a local Shriner. The game will be played July 31, 2004 at Welch Stadium in Emporia.