LHS probable starters
TE-Quintin Rucker, 6-0, 220, Sr. LT-Chebon Dawes, 6-3, 260, Jr. LG-Skyler Countess, 5-11, 215, Sr. C-Ryan Giblin, 5-10, 215, Jr. RG-Penny Khaithianthong, 5-10, 220, Jr. RT-Stephen Mason, 6-4, 280, Jr. or Derek Huff, 5-11, 250, Sr.
QB-Andrew Miller, 6-1, 185, Sr. RB-Tyler Hunt, 6-2, 220, Sr. RB-Chase Muder, 5-9, 180, Sr. WR-Jared Vinoverski, 6-2, 190, Sr. WR-Travis Sanders, 5-8, 160, Sr.
K-Rex Hargis, 6-0, 150, Sr.
LE-Rucker. LT-Giblin. NG-Countess. RT-Dawes. RE-Aaron Rea, 6-0, 180, Jr. LB-Hunt. LB-Muder.
SS-Sanders. CB-Vinoverski. CB-Josh Wedel, 5-8, 170, Sr. FS-Murphy Ray, 5-11, 175, Jr. or Jake Green, 5-11, 175, Jr.
Lawrence High football coach Dirk Wedd hasn't thought about it much, but LHS is on spoiler alert.
That's the situation the 2-3 Lions find themselves in tonight against undefeated Shawnee Mission Northwest at Haskell Stadium. Halfway through the season, LHS isn't in a position to win the Sunflower League crown, but the Cougars certainly are - and the Lions know it.
"Oh yeah, that's the role we always talk about is getting an upset," LHS senior co-captain Quintin Rucker said. "We're the underdogs mostly every game we play, so spoiling is something we talk about every week."
Making the task even more difficult, the Lions have to do it without their first- and second-string fullbacks as both deal with injuries. Jake Green, who filled in for starter Clifton Sims last week, is out with a cracked rib. Sims likely will be a gametime decision, but Wedd doesn't anticipate using him.
"He didn't look very good (Wednesday), so unless something happens between now and Friday, I doubt he'll play," Wedd said Thursday.
If Sims can't go, Wedd said senior Chase Muder would join starting running back Tyler Hunt in the backfield. Muder played offensive guard as a sophomore and wide receiver as a junior and has spent this season playing linebacker.
LHS once again will look to signal caller Andrew Miller for guidance. He will get his second varsity start at quarterback filling in for the injured Clint Pinnick.
"I think I'm more comfortable because it is my second game starting, and I don't have that nervous jitter like I did the last game," Miller said.
Miller credits Pinnick with helping him find that comfort zone so soon.
"Clint's been helping me a lot with what I've been doing," Miller said. "He's watched film with me and told me what I need to improve on and just overall helped with my game."
Wedd is pleased with the way Miller has taken to the first-string offense since Pinnick went down with an ankle injury two weeks ago.
"He's improved each game, he's improved each snap," Wedd said. "He's one of those kids that just will do whatever it takes. If we told him to carry water, he'd carry water. If we told him to play defensive tackle for 60 snaps, he'd play defensive tackle. He's one of those kids that wants to win and help Lawrence High win."
In order to spring the upset against arguably the best team in the conference, Wedd said his team needed to keep the game close in the fourth quarter. The Lions actually shut out their previous two opponents in the second half but allowed 65 points combined in the first half.
"We dig ourselves in a hole, and it takes us forever to dig our way out," he said. "We've got to play better defense, and we've got to knock some people off the ball offensively. If we can do that somehow, we've got a chance."