LHS vs. Shawnee Mission South
When: 7 tonight
Where: SM South District Stadium
Records: LHS 0-1, SM South 0-1
Last week, it was about fanfare. This week, it’s about football.
Six days after opening the season with a 17-14 loss in the first game played at its new, on-campus football stadium, Lawrence High hits the road looking for a bounce-back victory.
For LHS coach Dirk Wedd, who sent 17 players with little or no experience to the field last Friday, today’s 7 p.m. game at Shawnee Mission South provides his young team with the opportunity to take another step forward.
“We learned a lot about our team Friday night,” Wedd said. “And now we just need to try to build on the positives and eliminate the negatives.”
Despite being overmatched in terms of size, speed and experience, the Lions put themselves in position to win last week’s game against SM North. They did so by controlling the football and playing hard-nosed defense, but also gave up three fumbles.
This week, Wedd’s Lions are hoping to follow a similar game plan — with one major difference.
“No turnovers,” sophomore Anthony Buffalomeat said. “We played well enough on defense to win. We just have to take care of the ball on offense.”
Last week, junior Chris Gaston took most of the snaps at quarterback, with senior Chase Billings coming in late in an attempt to lead a comeback. Although he praised both quarterbacks for their leadership and effort, Wedd said Billings might get a few more snaps this week. That likely means the Lions will look to pass a little more often. It doesn’t mean they’ll abandon their overall game plan.
“Offensively, we’re trying to be conservative,” Wedd said. “We have to look at the entire picture and what’s best for the team. Hopefully, we can build on what we did in the first game and get the running game and our play-action passing going.”
Wedd said SM South is a team not unlike his own.
“They’re an option team, and they like to pound it,” he said. “We have to stop the run and hope we don’t put so much into stopping it that they throw over the top of us.”
Like the Lions (0-1), the Raiders (0-1) also will be looking for their first victory of the season tonight. SMS lost to SM Northwest, 23-15, last week, but Wedd said he was impressed with South’s ability to hang with the more physical Northwest team.
“That’s an indication that (SM South’s) a pretty good team,” Wedd said. “But I like the makeup of our team, too. Sometimes kids catch their breath after the first week and then go backwards. But often times, at least during my time around here, I’ve learned that there’s usually a pretty big jump between the first and the second week. That’s certainly what we’re hoping to see.”
Adding to the odd feeling that comes with having a Thursday night game was Monday’s Labor Day practice. But Wedd said his team had a couple of good practices this week and appeared to be ready to go. Buffalomeat backed that claim.
“I feel a lot more comfortable this week,” the sophomore wide receiver and cornerback said. “I’m not as nervous as I was last week. I’m still a little nervous, but it’s a different feeling. I feel more ready.”