Overland Park As soon as Lawrence High moved the football near Shawnee Mission East’s 20-yard line Saturday, something nearly always went wrong.
The Lions were unable to capitalize on a couple of opportunities near the Lancer red zone and lost, 35-16, at the Shawnee Mission North District Stadium. The game was continued from Friday night. Play resumed with 7:27 to go in the second quarter.
“We have to be able to put the ball in the end zone,” sophomore quarterback Brad Strauss said. “We can drive it down, but we have to score.”
Coach Dirk Wedd also expressed frustration with the Lions’ (1-1) inability to score.
“The intensity of the defense when your back gets back against the wall rises,” Wedd said. “Our intensity doesn’t rise with their intensity. We just have to get that mentality that we know some things are going to happen a little bit faster, a little bit quicker.”
To restart the game in the second quarter, Strauss led the Lions on a 12-play, 64-yard drive to the Lancers’ 23-yard line. Facing a fourth-and-five and a 21-9 deficit, Wedd opted to keep his field-goal team on the sideline.
“We’re trying to teach some lessons as far as them understanding that you have to score touchdowns in this league,” Wedd said. “It would’ve been an OK field goal, but right at that moment, I thought that we had the momentum for the afternoon.”
Strauss looked to throw a screen pass right, but couldn’t find anyone open. He looked to the left side of the field but was blindsided by a Lancer defender before he could release the ball.
The Lancers (2-0) took over on downs and went on their own impressive drive before senior cornerback Austin Flory made an interception in the end zone as time expired in the half.
The Lions were energized coming out of the locker room, slapping helmets and chest-bumping on the sidelines.
On the first play of the half, however, junior running back Charles Jackson lost the ball after getting hit from behind. The Lancers recovered in Lion territory.
“It kind of just deflates you,” Strauss said. “We came out on defense and played pretty good after that, but we have to hold on the ball in games.”
East senior quarterback John Schrock also tested Lawrence’s man-to-man coverage all game. He finished the game 19-for-28 for 389 passing yards and three touchdowns through the air. He also scored on a 20-yard quarterback sneak late in the fourth quarter.
Wedd said he appreciated his players’ energy, especially since he was concerned they wouldn’t be ready to play after three long bus rides in 18 hours.
Flory said it was “pretty tough” to come back and restart the game.
Strauss, nursing a sore elbow after the game, refused to accept the excuse that the team was lethargic because of any outside circumstances.
“We felt pretty good, but that first fumble was pretty deflating,” Strauss said. “We have to keep up that energy through the whole game.”