Shane Hofer plays football for the Free State High School sophomore and junior varsity teams and dresses for the varsity games but seldom plays in them.
Pre-game ticket sales for tonight’s city showdown football game — kickoff at 7 at Lawrence High — will continue to be sold today at both the LHS and Free State finance offices.
Tickets will be available from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at both schools.
Sales will resume at the LHS ticket window at 5 p.m., when the stadium opens to the public.
Adult tickets cost $7 and students from kindergarten to 12th grade will be charged $5.
LHS has placed additional bleachers in the north end zone for the rivalry game between the Lions (7-1) and Firebirds (7-1), which will decide the Class 6A District 1 championship.
His older brother, Drake Hofer, is a standout senior wide receiver for Lawrence High School.
Paige Hofer, their mother, is the coach of the Free State cheerleaders but will be wearing LHS colors and cheering for the Lions, which is where her husband Jon’s loyalties lie, until next year, when Drake moves onto college and Shane plays for the Free State varsity.
In one Lawrence household, tonight’s football game at Lawrence High isn’t called the city rivalry. It’s known as the Hofer Bowl.
The interesting twist is not new to the coaching staffs. Football coaches are forever scheming to find an edge. It’s what they do. And even though Shane isn’t likely to get into tonight’s game, that doesn’t mean he is not being coached up.
“One of my coaches was talking about me setting one alarm (in Drake’s room) at 3:30 and another at 4:30,” Shane said. “I was thinking about doing it, but I don’t think I will.”
This unusual circumstance came about when the Hofers moved across the school district’s 15th Street/Bob Billings Parkway boundary for high schools when Shane was an eighth-grader at Southwest Junior High.
Football was the driving force behind the family’s move to the north side of the line.
“All my friends went there, and I knew the Free State class was going to be better in football,” Shane said.
The third and final Hofer boy, Chase, is a seventh-grader at Southwest. He’ll attend Free State, but since it’s his LHS brother who plays a prominent role for his team, that leaves him in a quandary.
“I haven’t decided yet,” Chase said when asked for which team he will root.
Drake and Shane don’t share a bedroom but do use the same bathroom.
“There’s a Free State sign right on the bathroom door,” Shane said. “It’s been there the past two years.”
Drake countered: “If it’s got to be somewhere, it might as well be the bathroom.”
Drake and Shane share a passion for football and a strong work ethic but in some ways are as opposite as their numbers. Drake wears 17, Shane 71. Drake isn’t as tall as his younger brother but is thicker. Drake is a member of the LHS a capella choir and enjoys listening to music, especially the rapper Drake. Shane said he doesn’t have much use for music.
The brothers do agree on a lot. For one thing, they agreed this was not the week to share football specifics around the house. Still, Drake tried to exploit his brother’s youth.
“He asked me, ‘Have you guys changed up your schemes?’” Shane said.
The younger brother told the older brother they made some changes.
“I asked what and he wouldn’t tell me,” Drake said.
Shane smiled and said, “So he doesn’t really know if we’ve changed or we haven’t changed.”
Shane wishes he had Drake’s speed and thinks if he did he might have gotten a pair of sacks in the fourth quarter of the varsity game against Wyandotte. Shane also wouldn’t mind having his brother’s 3.8 grade-point average. Drake wishes he had Shane’s height.
Otherwise, they’re happy with what they have.
“I love our uniforms,” Drake said, “especially with the white pants this year, like what they wore in the ’90s. I like ours the best in the (Sunflower) league.”
Said Shane, looking across the table at his brother: “I like ours. You’ve got to admit, we’ve got you on the helmets.”
Both are aware of where the series stands. Free State leads it, 8-7. It’s a close series, almost as close as the brothers who play on opposite sides of it.