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Archive for Friday, October 13, 2006

Lions not worried about looking ahead

Coaching staff delivers strong message in wake of last week’s crushing loss

October 13, 2006

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Washburn Rural isn't woeful. Still, at 1-5, the Junior Blues are obviously struggling.

So is there any chance Lawrence High will be looking ahead to next week's intracity football showdown with Free State?

If so, coach Dirk Wedd says, the Lions will be in trouble.

"We just got beat 51-7, so obviously anybody in the state of Kansas can beat us," Wedd said. "We'd better get on that bus with a purpose."

Kickoff will be at 7 p.m. today at Washburn Rural's stadium in Topeka.

That 51-7 roasting by Shawnee Mission West was the worst defeat suffered by tradition-rich Lawrence High in at least 36 years, and Wedd made sure his players will never forget it.

"We challenged them the next day," Wedd said.

Uh, what kind of a challenge?

"Ask them," Wedd replied.

Senior linebacker Nick DeBiasse spelled it out. The Lions were required to do 100 yards of bear-crawls for every point they surrendered after halftime.

"We gave up 16 points in the second half so we had to do 1,600 yards, the equivalent of a mile," DeBiasse said.

What's a bear-crawl?

"You walk on your hands and toes," DeBiasse explained. "It was punishment, but at the same time it forced us to be together. I think we took it the right way."

Added senior running back Tony Williams: "It was a good team-bonding time."

Williams, who leads the Lions in rushing with 755 yards and touchdowns with nine, shrugs off the notion the Lions (3-3) might be looking past the Junior Blues to the battle with unbeaten Free State a week from tonight.

"We know they aren't the best team we've played," Williams said, "but we can't look past anyone. They have nothing to lose and they'll throw everything they've got at us."

Washburn Rural's only victory is a 42-13 decision over Topeka Highland Park, a Class 5A school that also has a 1-5 record.

A potential positive for the Lions will be the return of Phillip Wahwahsuck, a 265-pound senior, at offensive tackle. Wahwahsuck has missed the last four games with a knee injury.

But the Lions will be without Patrick Johnson, one of their best defensive linemen. Johnson reinjured an ankle in the SM West loss and will be replaced by Richard Demby, a 165-pound senior who is also a back-up running back.

Tonight's game is the first of three Class 6A district contests. After Free State next week, the Lions will close the regular season against Topeka High (1-5) on Oct. 27.

"Everyone is zero and zero right now," Williams said. "And we know now what we have to do to be a state championship team."

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