Archive for Friday, September 14, 2007

Lions eager to ‘dance’ with Indians

September 14, 2007


LHS eager for battle against SM North

The Lawrence High Lions football team is ready for their home opener against Shawnee Mission North at Haskell Stadium. Enlarge video

Lawrence High football coach Dirk Wedd called his players in to take a knee just an hour into practice Thursday.

There was someone they needed to meet.

Former Lions football player Dave Oberzan stood in front of them, representing LHS championship teams of the past.

He recited a quote from his college playing days at Kansas State. Describing a football game as a party, he told the Lions, "If you're going to go to the party, then you dance every dance."

Oberzan and a host of others will be on hand tonight as the 1966 LHS state championship team is honored. And with the past being lauded, Lawrence's players of the present will entertain Shawnee Mission North in its first home "party" of the season inside Haskell Stadium.

The Lions (1-1) come into the game having displayed a spread passing attack in a week-one loss to Olathe North and a more traditional running game in week two's victory against Olathe Northwest.

Has LHS finally assembled the right pass-run balance for week three? Quarterback Clint Pinnick thinks so.

"We're going back to our old offense and doing the pistol offense," Pinnick said. "We're still going to have 15 to 20 pass attempts a game, but with the way the guys ran last week, I don't doubt the coaches for thinking we should run a lot more."

One key to that running attack has been Clifton Sims, who ran for 146 yards last week and said he doesn't care what LHS does - just as long as the Lions find the end zone.

"We're going to do whatever it takes to win, whether it's pass 100 times or run 100 times, it really doesn't make a difference," Sims said.

But for all the talk about Lawrence's offense, it may be the defense that has to come up biggest against the Indians.

LHS will need to contain SM North sophomore quarterback Arthur Rucker, who has scored one of his team's two touchdowns on the ground this season. Wide receiver Aaron Sawyer and running back Zack Latham also pose threats.

"Their speed and skill just scares you to death," Wedd said. "(Rucker) is very talented and very fast."

Despite an 0-2 record that included a 20-15 loss to perennial cellar dweller Leavenworth High and a 28-0 defeat against Olathe North, Wedd said SM North shouldn't be overlooked.

"They played Olathe North better than we played Olathe North," he said. "And that's the only thing you can compare it to because that's a common opponent."

Wedd's aim against the Indians is twofold. He wants to win and, in doing so, make those LHS teams of the past proud.

"I want the whole 1966 football team to come up to me afterwards and say, 'Coach, I love your football team. They remind me of all those other championship teams.'"


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