High School Sports

High School Sports

Better late than never

Lawrence escapes cellar with triumph over Pioneers

The Lions defense teams up on a Leavenworth ball carrier during the second half of the game on Friday, Oct. 30, 2009, at LHS.

The Lions defense teams up on a Leavenworth ball carrier during the second half of the game on Friday, Oct. 30, 2009, at LHS.

October 31, 2009

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Lawrence High notches first victory

Lawrence High (1-8) held off Leavenworth, 13-6, in overtime. Enlarge video

If ever there were a more fitting ending to a season, the Lawrence High football team hasn’t seen it.

Down to their final chance at salvaging one solitary victory in an otherwise forgettable season, the Lions came through in the most dramatic way Friday night at LHS — a 13-6, overtime victory against winless Leavenworth.

As the final horn sounded on a game in which both previously winless teams competed as if they were playing for something much more important than avoiding the Sunflower League cellar, the LHS faithful went wild.

The band belted “Stand Up and Cheer,” fans rushed the field, coaches hugged each other, and players and many fans held a single finger high in the air, signaling officially that the Lions had finally earned win No. 1. Unofficially, the familiar celebratory signal symbolized that, on this night, the Lions felt like champions.

“This means everything,” said senior running back Tyrae Jenkins, who scored the game-winning touchdown on the third play of overtime. “We said all week that we didn’t care if we won by one point, two points, whatever. We just wanted a win. And we got it.”

The game itself was about what you would expect from a pair of winless teams. Lots of turnovers, few points and a handful of mistakes kept things interesting to the end.

Leavenworth, which led 6-0 at the half, actually controlled most of the first three quarters. The Pioneers’ biggest break of the night came midway through the third, when the Lions were driving for a go-ahead score. With LHS looking to at least tie things up, Jenkins coughed up the football and gave the momentum right back to Leavenworth. Two plays later, the Lions intercepted a Leavenworth pass and were back in business. Three plays after that, junior quarterback Chris Gaston hit Taylor Coleman with a 26-yard touchdown pass that tied the game.

“When I scored that touchdown, I just said to myself, ‘It’s about time,’” Coleman said.

In keeping with the theme of their season, the snap sailed high on the Lions’ extra-point attempt and the game remained tied at 6-all heading into the fourth.

In the fourth, both teams battled back and forth but neither team could break through. The closest either team came to breaking the tie came late in the game when LHS’s Anthony Rosen missed three field goals that likely would have won the game in regulation.

The first, a 44-yarder against the wind, came up two yards short. But Rosen was roughed on the kick and the Lions lined up for a 39-yarder on the next play. Again the snap was high and the score remained tied at 6. A few minutes later, Rosen got another shot at it, this time from 42 yards with 1:01 to play. The kick would have been good from 50 yards but sailed wide right by a yard or two. That sent the teams to overtime and the rest, like it or not, is history.

Although Friday’s victory won’t stand up against the school’s 26 state championships or multiple undefeated seasons, it will mean something to the Class of 2010. Now and always.

“We’re 1-8 and the one is pretty memorable,” LHS coach Dirk Wedd said. “What I saw out there tonight was a bunch of kids who rolled up their sleeves, gave everything they could give and played like Lawrence High football players. That’s the highest compliment I can give them and I’m darn proud of every one of them.”

Added Coleman: “Years from now, when people ask whose team was that 1-8 team back in 2009, I’ll say that was my team.”

Comments

MIke Mallory 5 years, 4 months ago

I'm sure there will be plenty of negative things posted on this blog today but for me the final quote says it all.

Added Coleman: “Years from now, when people ask who’s team was that 1-8 team back in 2009, I’ll say that was my team.”

Just shows you its not always about winning and losing... sometimes it really is about the things we learn along the way. Proud of you Mr. Coleman.... and all of you Chesty Lions out there that continued to battle through this difficult season. This truely was the "perfect" ending!

Tony Kisner 5 years, 4 months ago

Good for the Lions. It looks like the kids still want to play for coach which says a lot.

It will not be long and LHS will be back on top, (unfortunately because I am a Free State fan).

3up3down 5 years, 4 months ago

"It looks like the kids still want to play for coach which says a lot." Maybe?
This statement kind of reminds me of the scene where Adam Banks, of the Hawks, comes into the locker room of the Mighty Ducks. Coach, "Welcome, your uniform is over here." Adam in a very despondent reply, "I just want to play." Most of these kids just want to play. Too bad their wagon is hooked to a falling star. Future players need to see a change in leadership or at least a change in offensive philosophy.

CPinnick 5 years, 4 months ago

Give it a rest. The season is over. They won their last game. Finally all of you that only focus on the negatives will have nothing more to say. I am glad they won this last one.

cato_the_elder 5 years, 4 months ago

Congratulations to the Lions and their dedicated coaching staff on this win. Based on the current numbers, unless the folks on the north side are favored with additional fortunate move-ins or USD 497 continues to look the other way at immature parents coming up with even more ways to avoid the 15th street boundary line, that school will be faced with the same issues that LHS has had this year - and the same misguided, selfish naysayers will again be back criticizing another coach. In any event, It's great to have the LHS season end on such an upbeat note. Special thanks to Hank Booth on his broadcast last night, in which he continued to speak in a positive manner about the boys on the team, their coaches, their hard work and their sincere efforts all season to win.

TheYetiSpeaks 5 years, 4 months ago

3up3down- Did you just back up your statement with a scene from the Mighty Ducks? You are obviously a sports psychology expert. Wow. Stay tuned for basketball season when 3up3down blasts the basketball coaches using a scene from Air Bud.

greenworld 5 years, 4 months ago

Fire the coach. He sucks. 1-8 sucks and no kid could be happy losing. There lying if they say they are. Bottom line is you dont play any sports to lose and as far as scholarships goes , you wont get a scholarship unless your a exceptionally great player or you are on a better than 1-8 team. Coach, try something different, I dont think coaching is your specialty.

LSD 5 years, 4 months ago

It's time for a coaching change. The last time the Lions went 1 and 8 they fired the coach then, the worst coach in LHS history, Frank Gibson. Wedd has failed to produced year after year. Given the programs history they should be able to go out and find another Bill Freeman or Dick Purdy.

sinkorswim 5 years, 4 months ago

Glad for the team that they won last night! Way to hang in there and end the season on a positive note. :-) However, in my opinion it was too little, too late. Still hoping the Lions are under the guidance of a new head coach next year.

greenworld 5 years, 4 months ago

Lisher across town deals with the hand he is dealt and finds ways to win. Sorry but the old bring out the talent that he has Im not buying into anymore. Sounds like a good excuse to me. And you know what excuses are....When you run the ball up the middle 40,50 times in a row and gain no positive yardage, something has got to give. The play calling is just horrible. Kids dont make up talent, coaches teach kids to play the game and make them into something which is not happening at LHS. I believe Ku currently has a kid from Free State who is seeing playing time. So who is sending kids to D1 schools? Not Wedd. I bet if Lisher coached at LHS he would have a better than 1-8 team and thats with the same guys Wedd has this year.

cato_the_elder 5 years, 4 months ago

Greenworld, you're way off base and you're too ignorant to realize it. KU won the 2008 Orange Bowl in part through the outstanding play of Brandon McAnderson, who played three years for Coach Wedd at LHS. By the way, how many LHS football games did you attend this year?

TheYetiSpeaks 5 years, 4 months ago

greenworld- That paragraph was full of the most ridiculous statements: 1."When you run the ball up the middle 40,50 times in a row and gain no positive yardage, something has got to give." Funny...It didn't seem to hurt Free State last night.

2."Kids dont make up talent, coaches teach kids to play the game and make them into something which is not happening at LHS." No coach has ever "coached up" a kid to a division 1 level who didn't already have the talent to make it there....ever. 3. "I believe Ku currently has a kid from Free State who is seeing playing time. So who is sending kids to D1 schools?" How does this jibe with your talent doesn't matter argument? Free State has obviously had more talent.

4."I bet if Lisher coached at LHS he would have a better than 1-8 team and thats with the same guys Wedd has this year." I bet your next correct assumption about coaching will be your first.

Clickker 5 years, 4 months ago

Who won the LHS v FS JV game? Who won the Soph game?

LHS simply didnt have they type of QB to do anything but grind it out.Next year, when Solko comes up from the Soph team, he will see ALOT of action at QB and they will throw the ball. FS should have a good QB, but no depth. It wont be until the current 8th graders are in HS that FS will be good...Lish is salivating over converting the Lane kid at West to a spread QB!!!

Clickker 5 years, 4 months ago

My point being...alot of this is cyclical

jhyphene 5 years, 4 months ago

I hope nobody is salivating over an 8th grader. Get some perspective. Seriously.

jonas_opines 5 years, 4 months ago

I see that Leavenworth is the same as when I was in high-school. My wife went to Leavenworth, and remarked to me that one of her four years there the football team was beaten by the powder-puff team.

jayhawk1125 5 years, 4 months ago

It really upsets me when people are saying that Lawrence High doesn't have the talent when I know for a fact that is NOT the case. As a student at LHS, I know these boys personally and know the boys who have quit, who complain on a daily bases that they hate Wedd and don't want to play for him. An example of a boy who has the potential and talent to be a D1 player, Jeff Belaire, quit and is now applying for a transfer to Free State where there is in his opinion, a better coach. So you're trying to tell me this has nothing to do with the coach... BAHAHA okay.

3up3down 5 years, 4 months ago

I have watched the Lane kid from West. He runs like a deer and thows like crap. His throwing mechanics are non-existant. He is tall and will make a very tough wide out to defend. The kid to watch at QB comes from Southwest (8th grade). He runs well and has a strong, accurate arm. Should be interesting to see what Wedd does with this kid.

Clickker 5 years, 4 months ago

Bellair can try to transfer to FS for football, but if thats the reason, they will turn him down flat. Ya gotta have a better reason and FB aint one of them. If he had wealthy parents, maybe he could get an address change. He has some serious "coachability" problems, and those wont get past Lisher. Or they shouldnt if he has any backbone.

Clickker 5 years, 4 months ago

"His throwing mechanics are non-existant. He is tall and will make a very tough wide out to defend."

Yeah...probably. Although with kids like that, you never know if they are done growing or just kinda matured early. I'm pretty sure the Murphy twins looked a heck of alot more like wideouts than a QB at that age. Depends on if Lish wants his studs to touch the ball every play, or 4-5 times per game.

gogoplata 5 years, 4 months ago

Good coaches can make talentless teams into good teams. I hate KSU but all you have to do is look at what Bill Snyder has done this year in Manhattan. They beat Colorado and played OU tough. A good coach can make something out of nothing.

hail2oldku 5 years, 4 months ago

Severa is the kid from SW, and he is a pretty good QB for an 8th grader. The kid from South's 9th grade team, Brad Strauss, is a true leader in ever sense of the word. There's also the Willoughby kid at South. The talent will be back at LHS to be sure.

Lane and Walmsley are 8th graders at West that can make an impact at the HS level. TJ Cobb, Demarco Bobo and the McFarland kid are all ninth graders from West that could contribute once they reach their Jr. years at FS. The Skwarlo kid (8th grade) at SW will be a fine back at FS when he gets there too.

The skill slots at both schools seem to be covered from the feeder schools. The real question for both LHS and FSHS is, "Where's the BEEF?"

O-North, Hutch, Smith Center can all run the ball all game long because they have the lines necessary to allow those skill players to make the yards and move the chains. They all run the same type of offense that Dirk is running, but with more success because of their line play.

Clickker 5 years, 4 months ago

Yes, its pretty apparent that both schools will have skill players for years to come. You are correct with the line...Where is the beef?? I just think Lawrence, from LYF to the Jr. hi's dont develop Linemen very well.

erina1323 5 years, 4 months ago

Jayhawk 1125 before you talk you should ask Jeffrey about the the things coach Wedd has done for him. He was lucky he had someone that cared as much for him as Coach Wedd did all summer long....... So he can try to go to Free State but he won't get far on that team either......

Kash_Encarri 5 years, 4 months ago

The line doesn't have any glory position hail or clickker. Every dad wants to think his kid is the next Tomlinson, Manning, etc. Some would be better of settling for being the next Gonzalez but learn to throw a block while they're at it.

Also, don't forget about Keith, Jr. at West. He's not near as big as his dad, but the kid is solid.

3up3down 5 years, 4 months ago

Dineen is the kid from Southwest, not Severa. Severa was a running back in the spread offense they ran this year along with Skwarlo, Rogers and Strozier. Dineen was the leader (qb) of that team this last season. Severa's talents as a hard punishing runner would be wasted at the qb spot. He could throw okay, but not with the accuracy of Dineen.

hail2oldku 5 years, 4 months ago

3u3d - I thought the Dineens lived north of 15th already so he would be a FSHS kid. That's why I mentioned Severa. I guess the reason I thought that is Joe has played on the same baseball team with a bunch of Quail and Sunset kids since they were 8-9 years-old. He does have some talent, but he'll likely be behind Strauss at LHS, especially since Brad is a year older.

3up3down 5 years, 4 months ago

Dineen lives many blocks south of 15th street. Great qb. Hood will do well by this kid. Not sure what the varsity coach will do with his talents. I can only guess. Sad :(

lhsmom 5 years, 4 months ago

LSD..."Given the programs history they should be able to go out and find another Bill Freeman or Dick Purdy."

I remember hearing some of the same people complaining in the stands this year doing just as much complaining about these two coaches. Get over yourselves people. These are kids and yes, you are complaining about the adult coach but this is hurting the kids! These kids deserved to feel like the people in the stands were there to cheer them on, not spend all their time second guessing their coach. I must say this has not been Lawrence High's finest hour.

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