Archive for Friday, October 3, 2003

Lion defense must shift gears

Olathe North concentrates on ground game

October 3, 2003

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All that pass-defense practice the Lawrence High football team has been getting won't help much now.

Tonight's opponent, Olathe North, isn't likely to take to the air much. The Eagles rarely have.

Lawrence and Olathe North will meet at 7 tonight at the Olathe District Activities Center. KLWN 1320 will have a live broadcast.

With the Lions having seen three of the Sunflower League's four most pass-happy teams already this season and just one standout running back in Olathe East's Andre Jones, LHS is sure to be tested against Olathe North, a team that has won of six of the last seven 6A state titles, thanks in part to a strong ground game.

"Olathe North is notoriously a running football team," LHS coach Dirk Wedd said.

So, too, are the Lions. With the similar traditional offensive schemes, it might be no coincidence that tonight's showdown is a battle of arguably the two greatest programs in Sunflower League history.

Even if neither is as successful now as they once were, running the football seems to generate results.

"I don't think we'll change our game plan," LHS running back John Davis said. "As long as we don't have to."

Lawrence and Olathe North are one-two in the league in rushing attempts. The Lions do it with a long list of talent, including seniors Brett Urban, Davis and Taylor Parker, as well as juniors Jeff Colter, Ian Handshy and Jabril Richardson.

Parker, the quarterback, easily has more rushing attempts (34) than passing attempts (21) this season.

Olathe North, meanwhile, is predominately a one-man show. Justin Gore, who leads the Sunflower League with 129 rushes, and is second in the league with 624 yards, has nearly 70 percent of his team's carries.

"He's a very, very good back," Wedd said. "He's real elusive, and he makes a lot of people miss."

At 3-1, the Eagles haven't dominated like they have in the recent years. They average just better than 13 points per game, but their defense gives up only about seven points per contest.

"They really haven't lost a step defensively," Wedd said. "We're going to have to beg, borrow and steal some points any way we can get them."

Lawrence leads the league with 15 offensive touchdowns, while the Eagles' defense leads the league by allowing just four.

Something's got to give. Wedd just hopes it isn't his guys who buckle.

"We're going to have to score some points," he said. "And defensively, we're going to have to do a great job of stopping the run. It's still Olathe North."By Ryan Wood

rwood@ljworld.com

All that pass-defense practice the Lawrence High football team has been getting won't help much now.

Tonight's opponent, Olathe North, isn't likely to take to the air much. The Eagles rarely have.

Lawrence and Olathe North will meet at 7 tonight at the Olathe District Activities Center. KLWN 1320 will have a live broadcast.

With the Lions having seen three of the Sunflower League's four most pass-happy teams already this season and just one standout running back in Olathe East's Andre Jones, LHS is sure to be tested against Olathe North, a team that has won of six of the last seven 6A state titles, thanks in part to a strong ground game.

"Olathe North is notoriously a running football team," LHS coach Dirk Wedd said.

So, too, are the Lions. With the similar traditional offensive schemes, it might be no coincidence that tonight's showdown is a battle of arguably the two greatest programs in Sunflower League history.

Even if neither is as successful now as they once were, running the football seems to generate results.

"I don't think we'll change our game plan," LHS running back John Davis said. "As long as we don't have to."

Lawrence and Olathe North are one-two in the league in rushing attempts. The Lions do it with a long list of talent, including seniors Brett Urban, Davis and Taylor Parker, as well as juniors Jeff Colter, Ian Handshy and Jabril Richardson.

Parker, the quarterback, easily has more rushing attempts (34) than passing attempts (21) this season.

Olathe North, meanwhile, is predominately a one-man show. Justin Gore, who leads the Sunflower League with 129 rushes, and is second in the league with 624 yards, has nearly 70 percent of his team's carries.

"He's a very, very good back," Wedd said. "He's real elusive, and he makes a lot of people miss."

At 3-1, the Eagles haven't dominated like they have in the recent years. They average just better than 13 points per game, but their defense gives up only about seven points per contest.

"They really haven't lost a step defensively," Wedd said. "We're going to have to beg, borrow and steal some points any way we can get them."

Lawrence leads the league with 15 offensive touchdowns, while the Eagles' defense leads the league by allowing just four.

Something's got to give. Wedd just hopes it isn't his guys who buckle.

"We're going to have to score some points," he said. "And defensively, we're going to have to do a great job of stopping the run. It's still Olathe North."

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