High School Sports

High School Sports

Sweet shellacking: Lions put ‘09 behind, paste Pioneers in football opener, 40-6

Lawrence High’s Sean Thomas (41) and Jacob Weber (56) bring down Leavenworth ball-carrier Devarious Sullivan. The Lions crushed the Pioneers, 40-6, on Friday at Lawrence High.

Lawrence High’s Sean Thomas (41) and Jacob Weber (56) bring down Leavenworth ball-carrier Devarious Sullivan. The Lions crushed the Pioneers, 40-6, on Friday at Lawrence High.

September 4, 2010


In one night — one half, really — Lawrence High’s football team erased all the painful memories of 2009 with a 40-6 pasting of Leavenworth on the opening night of the new season.

Lions cruise in season opener

The LHS football team crushed its competition in the first game of the season Friday. Lawrence High beat Leavenworth 40-6. Enlarge video

“This is a great feeling,” said LHS senior Darrin Sorem, who scored two first-half touchdowns on one-yard plunges. “We worked hard, we got everybody in that locker room to believe in what we’re trying to do this year, and I don’t think anybody’s looking back to last year anymore.”

Why would they? After what the Lions showed Friday night, there seems to be plenty to look forward to in 2010.

Sophomore quarterback Brad Strauss — who finished with 238 yards of offense and two TDs — led Lawrence to touchdowns on its first five drives to open a 33-0 lead against a team it needed overtime to beat in 2009.

“We got great field position, and our offensive line did a great job of creating holes and making things easy for us,” said Strauss, who sported a hairdo that included a hint of a mohawk and lines shaved into the side and the back of his black locks, courtesy of senior offensive lineman Jamal Brown.

So good was the Lions’ offense in the first half that Lawrence High coach Dirk Wedd was able to go to his second stringers with five minutes to play in the half. On the opening play of the game, Strauss stood in the shotgun, and the Lions lined up with four wide receivers.

“I’ve been doing this for 35 years,” Wedd said. “And I learned a long time ago that you fit your offense to your personnel. We’ve got a few weapons this year, and we want to show them off.”

Lawrence’s first drive of the night was its longest in both time and distance. The Lions traveled 70 yards in four minutes and took a 7-0 lead on a three-yard run by junior tailback Charles Jackson, who finished with two scores.

After that, however, Lawrence started most of its drives inside Leavenworth territory. Had they not, the Lions likely would have threatened the 500-yard mark in total offense. As it was, Lawrence outgained the Pioneers, 328-76, in total yards.

The Lions’ defense, fast and physical, was highlighted by a strong stand on fourth-and-goal on Leavenworth’s opening drive of the second half. When Leavenworth tailback Jason Randall took the toss and went right, there to meet him was Strauss, who also plays safety for the Lions.

“He’s a good player,” Wedd said of his new QB. “We thought from the time we saw him as a ninth-grader that he could handle the challenge of leading the offense. More than the talent, though, he’s just a great kid. He respects the heck out of our seniors, and the seniors respect the heck out of him when he’s putting points on the board.”

Said Strauss of his debut: “I came in confident because I had a pretty good summer. But I didn’t expect us to throw up 40 points.”

As for the man who held Strauss’ spot a season ago, he, too, was impressed by the rookie’s first varsity action.

“I figured he’d be a little more timid than he was,” senior Chris Gaston said. “But he was great. I think he’s a heck of a player.”

After winning just one game in 2009, the Lions already are 1-0. What’s more, as a team, Lawrence completed just 10 passes in all nine games combined last year and scored only 91 points. Friday, the Lions completed 11 passes and scored nearly half of that point total.

“(Leavenworth) caught us on a mission tonight,” Wedd said. “We’ve had a bad taste in our mouths for nine months now and we were really hungry to get a win tonight.”

Lawrence will travel to Shawnee Mission East next Friday.


cato_the_elder 7 years, 6 months ago

The caption to the photo incorrectly identifies Jon Pederson, a linebacker, as Jacob Weber. Sadly, Weber, an outstanding offensive and defensive lineman and one of the Lions' key senior leaders, is out for the season as the result of a knee injury received shortly after fall practices began. Pederson was wearing number 56 to honor him.

Kash_Encarri 7 years, 6 months ago

"Strauss, who sported a hairdo that included a hint of a mohawk and lines shaved into the side and the back of his black locks, courtesy of senior offensive lineman Jamal Brown."

Good to see hazing is alive and well in our high schools.

jayhawk1125 7 years, 6 months ago

good to see that this was a self decision by brad and the other members of the team who shaved their heads. you old people and your hazing oppositions.

Jaminrawk 7 years, 6 months ago

Good for LHS. Hopefully they keep it up and have a good year in a pretty tough league.

justcause 7 years, 6 months ago

Way to jump to conclusions Kash_Encarri. At a team dinner they decided to do team haircuts, often done as part of a bonding experience. Many of the boys were sporting creative cuts but only the boys who chose to participate. Not all young people are out doing evil hazing pranks. However, some people are always looking for something negative to say. Ever examined your motives for doing that??Way to go Lions and Firebirds! Great start to a new season.

Kash_Encarri 7 years, 6 months ago

Glad to hear I am just overreacting.

Out of curiousity, how many upperclassmen received new haircuts?

shubes69 7 years, 6 months ago

Kash_Encarri, about 10 upperclassmen were sporting some unique haircuts, all voluntary. The guys on this team love each other, including the underclassmen who they have embraced this year. The seniors and juniors care just as much about the sophomores as they do each other. They are a TEAM. The way a team should be.

listener 7 years, 6 months ago

First of all, way to focus on the least important aspect of the article. The boys played a great game and deserve great praise for working VERY hard during the pre-season in order to have a better season this year! NICE START boys, great job!

Secondly, in case you are curious, the "haircuts" were performed under the supervision of parents to ensure they were voluntary and there was no undue pressure applied to anyone. I have no idea how many who got them were upper or under classmen, it was silly HS boys, doing silly HS boy stuff...............no harm to anyone, 'nuff said.


Kash_Encarri 7 years, 6 months ago

Good to hear about the haircuts. I just know that there was some questionable activities at both schools last year about each time a new season began. I had to work last night so I didn't get to go see either local team play & the article only mentioned a Sophomore sporting a strange hairdo. IF that were the case it wouldn't be focusing on the least important aspect, it would have been questioning why the writer glossed over something.

From the sounds of how this first week went, we'll get to have some exciting high school football at both schools this year. I look forward to taking in as many games as I can. Way to go LHS and Free State

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