Snap, hold, kick.
On paper, it seems easy enough. But Lawrence High football coach Dirk Wedd knows both from personal experience and from his team’s kicking game this season that it isn’t always that simple.
Poor execution on kick attempts cost LHS points and a chance to win the game last week against Shawnee Mission Northwest. Wedd made sure to address the special-teams issues this week in practice in preparation for today’s game against Olathe East at 7 p.m. at the LHS football stadium.
“Things like that don’t go away. You have to concentrate on those things,” Wedd said. “We probably spend as much time on special teams as anybody in the state.”
Wedd was a long-snapper in high school and college.
“It’s a skill that you work on and work on, but when it comes right down to it and the game’s on the line, it’s a hard thing to put your head between your legs,” Wedd said.
And Wedd had his fair share of bad snaps.
“Any center that said they never had a bad snap is lying,” Wedd said.
Senior Kevin Weiss handled snapping duties last week, but the LHS coaching staff has looked at a lot of snappers early in the season. Wedd said he is confident in his kicking game and won’t change philosophies and go for two-point conversions every time like he has a couple of times in his coaching career.
The Lions are 7-for-12 on extra-point attempts and 2-for-3 on two-point conversions this season. Since a 50 percent two-point conversion rate would equate to more points than perfect point-after conversons, going for two can be a viable option. But Wedd said it’s a little harder to convert from three yards out than it might seem.
The years his team went for the two-pointer every time were the years his team needed a kicker, not a long-snapper.
Outside of the kicking game, however, Wedd knows his team has come a long way from the beginning of the season.
Junior receiver Garrett Cleavinger said his team might be the underdog against the undefeated Hawks, but that doesn’t mean he’s looking at it negatively.
“It shows that we have a chip on the shoulder, and we have something to prove to everybody,” Cleavinger said. “It makes us come out fired up and ready to go.”
Junior receiver Anthony Buffalomeat was impressed with the Hawks on film.
“They’re probably the fastest team we’ve seen all year,” Buffalomeat said.
Olathe East senior running back Brandon Willingham rushed for four touchdowns and 113 yards on eight carries in the first half in a 62-6 victory against Leavenworth last week. The six points allowed actually increased the Hawks’ points-against from 4.7 per game to five.