The Haskell Stadium crowd came to its feet as the Lawrence High band circled the track Wednesday night.
Lawrence's Fall Jamboree did not count in the standings, and each individual scrimmage did not last as long as a game, but playing under the lights and in front of fans created a special ambiance.
"It was exciting," LHS quarterback Chance Riley said.
Lawrence conducts the jamboree for several reasons. It serves as a practice for the fall teams and a test run for the game-day operations workers at Haskell Stadium. The athletes also become used to playing in game-like conditions.
The event served as a showcase for the teams, too, and more than 1,000 fans attended.
"(The jamboree) features and introduces all of the other fall sports and their athletes and their coaches," Lawrence athletic director Ron Commons said.
The football team has participated in the jamboree for more than 50 years; the other fall sports joined in during the last 10 to 12 years.
The C, junior varsity and varsity levels of soccer scrimmaged for 50 minutes, followed by three scrimmages featuring the sophomore, JV and varsity football teams.
Cheerleaders and pom-squad dancers lent their support throughout the night. During a 15-minute break between the two football scrimmages, the cross country team ran several laps around the track.
As part of an annual tradition, girls cross country captains Brianna DiLorio and Adrienne Struble chose an usual article of clothing to wear while running their laps. All of the girls wore a headpiece with lion ears.
"We just wanted to do something fun," DiLorio said.
Football was all business, even running sprints after the scrimmage. The team struggled at times on offense, but the defensive effort pleased coach Dirk Wedd.
More about the Jamboree
"We're not very productive yet offensively, but we're going to get there," Wedd said. "We found some kids that wanted to hit. I liked the way we flew around the field."
Riley sacked Clint Pinnick for a 10-yard loss, and defensive lineman Chebon Dawes completed the ultimate troika, gathering a sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery on one play. The defense stuffed the run on numerous occasions.
Offensively, wide receiver Nathan Padia caught a touchdown from Andrew Miller, and Riley threw two touchdowns to junior Jared Vinoverski. The highlight of the night came when Vinoverski caught a 55-yard touchdown pass from Riley to end the first varsity scrimmage.
"He caught it and turned up the sideline," Riley said. "It went for a lot longer than we expected.
Opposing coaches observed the Lawrence football team from the stands, but that did not alter Wedd's game plan.
"We run the football, and we're trying to throw it more and more," Wedd said. "That's what we do. : They've got to stop it."
LHS plays its first "real" game under the Haskell lights Sept. 1 against Olathe North.
"(The season)'s getting closer and closer," Riley said. "And every day it's more exciting."