For Lawrence High, it was a different Olathe team but the same story Friday night.
The Lions again couldn't punch the football into the end zone on their final opportunity, falling 14-7 to Olathe South on Friday night at Haskell Stadium.
"Like this week or last week," LHS coach Dirk Wedd said. "You've got to learn to play 48 minutes."
LHS (0-2) did not score in the second half. But like last week, the Lions trailed by just a touchdown with a chance to even the score late in the fourth quarter. What appeared to be a hopeless situation - 4th-and-22 with less than four minutes in the game - turned miraculous. Running back Tony Williams hauled in a 32-yard pass from Chance Riley by going higher than his defender.
Williams jumped in jubilation, but while the catch gave LHS instant momentum, the Lions could not capitalize.
"I'm glad I caught it," Williams said. "But we didn't win, which is the important thing."
Senior wide receiver Nathan Padia hauled in a five-yard pass on the next play. The Lions followed with an incomplete pass and a three-yard run by Williams. Wedd then called timeout, and the next play epitomized the Lions' difficulties.
Despite the sideline meeting, the receivers lined up on the wrong side, and defensive lineman Aaron Kolich sacked Riley for an eight-yard loss.
Wedd lamented the disorganization on the play, which effectively ended the game.
"We didn't deserve to win the game," Wedd said. "We made too many mistakes."
In another reminiscence of last week's game, LHS could not stop the run. One week after surrendering 283 rushing yards in a 34-27 loss to Olathe North, Anthony Sanchez slashed the Lions for 110 yards on 25 carries. The junior running back is slight at 6 feet and 165 pounds, but elusive, as evidenced by his 241 rushing yards - a Sunflower League high - in Week 1.
The Lions, however, blamed themselves for their inability to stop the run.
"Our defense needs to wrap up and take him down," Williams said.
The Lions had their most success running the ball with fullback Tyler Hunt, who gained 70 yards on 14 carries. Williams also rushed for 52 yards on 18 carries. But the LHS running game lacked the effectiveness that has become a staple during the last decade. As a result, the Lions passed more than usual with Riley completing 9-of-20 passes for 142 yards.
The passing game struck gold with the first play of the second quarter. Riley lofted a ball that was tipped by a defender, but Padia showed great concentration, making a 32-yard circus catch in the end zone despite triple coverage.
"We caught a break," Wedd said.
That reception gave LHS a 7-0 lead, but South (2-0) tied the score later in the frame on a five-yard Sanchez run. The game remained tied going into the fourth quarter after the Falcons misfired wide right on a field-goal attempt from 37 yards in the third.
At the 8:55 mark, the Falcons took the lead on one big play. Senior Branden Lyons streaked down the sideline for a 62-yard touchdown reception. That play was indicative of the strong throws made by quarterback Mike Keese all night. He finished 7 for 15 for 146 yards and one touchdown.
Another negative for an LHS team known for its discipline was the number of penalties. They were flagged six times for 55 yards.
The Lions did have some bright spots, including another strong performance by Padia. In addition to his touchdown catch, he returned a first-quarter punt 45 yards, unable to avoid the last man - the punter - who brought him down. The senior also deflected a would-be touchdown reception to senior Schayne Loveless during the third quarter.
Williams, though clearly disappointed, offered one silver lining. The Lions may sit at 0-2, but they already have played two of the toughest teams on their schedule. The preseason coaches poll ranked both Olathe North and Olathe South in the top six of the Sunflower League.
"We started off playing toe-to-toe with two real good teams in the Sunflower League," Williams said. "Each game was off by a touchdown. It could be one play."
A play away in both games, the young Lions have flashed talent but have yet to showcase a complete game on both sides of the ball.
"We're a good football team," Wedd said. "But we're not going to be successful until we learn to play every down like it's life and death."