Archive for Thursday, June 15, 2006

City products want Kansas to end streak

Trio of local gridiron stars to suit up for Greater Kansas City football clash

June 15, 2006


Members of the Kansas team's defense plastered tape on their helmets that said "five years" as a reminder in practice this week.

It's been five years since the Kansas team defeated the Missouri squad in the Greater Kansas City Football all-star game.

"I hope we can win," Free State High's Brett Lisher said. "It's getting kind of sad. Everyone in town is telling us to bring home a victory."

Kickoff is set for 7 tonight at William Jewell College in Liberty, Mo.

Three players from Lawrence high schools will play for the Kansas team: Lisher, a safety, wide receiver Nick Ayre of Free State High, and linebacker Scott Penny of Lawrence High.

Lisher said he would play strong safety tonight, as opposed to linebacker. He played both positions last season.

"The main thing is that he has the athletic ability to play back there," Free State High coach Bob Lisher said of his son playing safety. "He also has the intelligence to get people where they need to be."

Future plans

These are the plans that the Lawrence high school players in the Greater Kansas City All-Star Football Game have for next year: Brett Lisher, Free State High safety/linebacker: signed letter of intent to play baseball at Allen County CC Nick Ayre, Free State High wide receiver: signed letter of intent to play football at Baker University. Scott Penny, Lawrence High linebacker: signed with Oregon's track and field program to throw the hammer and discus.

Lisher, at 6 feet tall and 185 pounds, said his quickness and mobility made him more of an effective safety than linebacker.

Penny said since he and Lisher went to different high schools, it was nice to finish his football career with Lisher as his teammate. Before high school, the two had played football together since fourth grade.

"I call the plays for the defense, and it's weird looking in the huddle seeing guys who I've played against," Penny said.

Penny said the team started practicing June 5. The team practiced every day last week and had a scrimmage Saturday. After a day off Sunday, the Kansas team practiced from Monday to Wednesday this week.

Jeff Meyers, coach of the Kansas team and current Olathe East High coach, held practices outside from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe. Penny said the summer heat wasn't an exhausting factor.

"They give us plenty of water breaks," Penny said. "Our practices honestly aren't that hard."

Although the practices might not have been as physically demanding as a regular high school practice, Ayre said it was different learning a new offense.

"The formations are a little bit odd in a way," Ayre said. "Free State's were a lot simpler. The routes we run are just a lot more complex."

Ayre, who will play football at Baker University next year, said the all-star game would give him a chance to prove that he was ready to play at the next level.

"I'm just trying to work as hard as I can to see if I can get a starting spot," Ayre said of his transition to Baker.

Penny said it was difficult to analyze how the Missouri team would run its plays. He said the team might run many of its plays from the Wing-T formation. Penny said this formation focused on running the ball about 60 percent of the time.

"They switch it up in terms of where the ball goes," Penny said. "But we know it will be 10 times faster with the all-stars from Missouri."

Kansas University recruit Tyler Lawrence, of Shawnee Mission West, will play quarterback for the Kansas team.

Lawrence High's Brandon Lassiter declined his option to play in the all-star game. Penny said if Lassiter were to get injured playing, it might jeopardize his scholarship to play football at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.


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