High School Sports

High School Sports

New beginnings: Lawrence High football ready to move past 1-8 season

Lawrence High sophomore quarterback Bradley Strauss laughs with teammates as they take a water break during practice Wednesday at Lawrence High. Strauss will be the starting quarterback for the Lions.

Lawrence High sophomore quarterback Bradley Strauss laughs with teammates as they take a water break during practice Wednesday at Lawrence High. Strauss will be the starting quarterback for the Lions.

September 3, 2010

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Dirk Wedd sees no reason to bring up the difficult 1-8 season Lawrence High’s football team endured last year when talking to his team.

LHS football to face familiar foe

The Lions will begin the new season by playing Leavenworth, the same team they played to end the 2009 season. Lawrence High is looking to improve on its dismal one-win season. Enlarge video

“They lived it just like I did,” Wedd said. “They don’t need it to be brought up to have it in their hearts. Every day we walk out there, we realize this school has huge expectations. In fact, we embarrassed our school with that type of season. That’s not what this school is used to.”

Wedd realizes turning around the fortunes of the Lions won’t happen overnight.

“We have a big hill to climb, starting at the bottom,” said Wedd, Lawrence High’s coach since 1999.

That quest begins at 7 tonight in the season opener, when the Lions take on Leavenworth at Lawrence High.

Coincidentally, the last time the Lions took the field, they held off Leavenworth, 13-6, in the final game for their only victory of the season.

Starting with a victory could do wonders for the Lions’ confidence in 2010.

“This is a big football game for us,” Wedd said. “Any time you have a young team — we’re going to start quite a few juniors and three or four sophomores — it’s important for them to get the jitters out early. Since Day 1 last winter, to summer weights, to all the two-a-days, all we’ve talked about is Leavenworth and how it’s important to be 1-0 at 10 o’clock (tonight).”

Wedd made the decision in the offseason to start Bradley Strauss at quarterback. It’s the first time a sophomore has started under center in the Wedd era.

Strauss beat out last year’s quarterback, Chris Gaston, a senior who will move to wide receiver this season. Wedd said Strauss earned the opportunity.

“He has great feet and is probably one of the two to three fastest guys on the team,” Wedd said. “If we can get him into the secondary, he can go the distance. Throwing the football, he doesn’t have a tremendous gun, but he’s accurate. He knows the pocket, doesn’t panic, doesn’t have happy feet, reads coverages and gets it to the right people.”

Working in the favor of LHS is how well Gaston took the news that he wouldn’t be playing quarterback.

“Honestly, he’s naturally a better passer than I am,” Gaston admitted about Strauss. “I’m not going to lie about that. He’s a really good natural athlete, and I give him props for everything he’s done so far.”

Still, Gaston figures to see plenty of the field as a receiver on offense and a safety on defense.

“Chris is a team person,” Wedd said. “He was disappointed. Any kid is going to be disappointed when you tell him he’s moving from quarterback to wide receiver. He’s team-first, and that’s the way he’s been brought up by his mom and dad. He didn’t pout or sulk. He took it the way a good leader would.”

Gaston will be joined in a receiving corps that includes senior Austin Flory and juniors Anthony Buffalomeat, Jake Vinoverski and Garrett Cleavinger.

The real question on offense: Who will start at running back?

Junior Charles Jackson has impressed the coaching staff and “has shown flashes of being a special kid,” according to Wedd. Jackson will compete against sophomores Asaph Jewsome, Jordan Brown and Tyrone Jenkins.

Defensively, Wedd called junior linebacker Darrin Sorem, a second-team all-league selection last year, the heart and soul of the unit.

Senior Jamal Brown figures to lead the defensive line, while Gaston and Strauss will patrol the secondary.

“I think we need to be realistic,” Wedd said. “We’re not going to turn this around in a short period of time. It will take some time. The only thing we’ve talked about is winning the first football game. We want to get off to a good start.”

Comments

SteelHorseRider 4 years, 8 months ago

A sophomore as a starting QB for LHS! My how times have changed.

In 2000, a full three years after the addition of Free State, I remember seeing Brian Seymour starting as a soph. for LHS. I commented to my wife, "Brian must really be playing well to start as a soph. or the football team may be hurting." It turned out LHS was just fine, as they won district titles in 2000, 2001, and 2002, and Brian deserved to start as a sophomore.

Good luck Bradley...hope your season is a GREAT one!

hail2oldku 4 years, 8 months ago

Either you are remembering incorrectly or the story is wrong.

"Wedd made the decision in the offseason to start Bradley Strauss at quarterback. It’s the first time a sophomore has started under center in the Wedd era."

Whichever, Brad will do a fine job back there. The kid is one of the best athletes I've ever had a chance to coach.

KULHSLIONSfan 4 years, 8 months ago

Isn't it interesting how the last several years LHS has had a "young team". I wonder why the sophomore classes always start out with really good numbers and dwindle to a small senior class. The 9th grade coaches were tough AND respectful and developed their teams into competitors. The boys truly enjoyed playing football. Things certainly do change at LHS.

I wish the best for our group of boys this year and hope it is the start of something good. The boys deserve a good season.

he_who_knows_all 4 years, 8 months ago

My guess is burnout. These kids are tired of training year round for sports. They also probably have other interests besides football. A job. Playing time might be a factor. Girls. Scouts. etc. etc.

lhslion123 4 years, 6 months ago

mam, with all due respect, i play varsity football for the lions, and to tell you the truth, i look at the younger kids (mainly sophomores and juniors--the ones who practice with us with the head coaches) and it sets them straight. just like drill instructors in the marines, the coaches job is to PREPARE you, as a football player to become mentally tough. and if that means getting in your face when youre not doing the job youre supposed to be doing, then so be it. I feel like ive become a better person by being coached by these coaches.. And thats what really matters.. so when the community and news wants a new coaching staff, that to us players, is like replacing a mentor whos made us better people through wisdom and disciplin

Clickker 4 years, 8 months ago

Burnout is a big factor. Both coaches have a tendency to play about 15-17 guys, and if you have to train all year--which is what the coaches demand, it might not be worth it if you dont see yourself as one of those 15-17 guys. Back in the day, if you werent one of the top guys, your sacrifice wasnt that great.....you didnt give up the other aspects of your life, so you were more likely to stick with it.

Rob Zerwekh 4 years, 8 months ago

Even when I was at Lawrence High School, 15+ years ago, several terrific athletes in my class who could have easily excelled at football gave it up by their senior years to play soccer instead. Keep in mind, LHS football rarely lost a game in those days.

Hop2It 4 years, 8 months ago

Soccer? I don't think the LJW knows that Lawrence High has a soccer team.

CHEEZIT 4 years, 8 months ago

Last season the defense was getting into our backfield before the quarterback could do anything! If that is the case this year it isn't going to matter if the kid is Joe Montana!!! You can't throw laying on your back!!!

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