The past few days at Lawrence High football practices haven’t been easy, and that wasn’t the result of the high-tempo format nor the late afternoon heat.
The Lions, senior quarterback Brad Strauss said, have been beating themselves up over the mistakes that cost them in their 20-14 home loss to Shawnee Mission West last Friday.
“We just had a bunch of little things — a couple missed assignments, the ball slipped out of our hands, a couple drops — just things like that added up, and we couldn’t get it done in the end,” Strauss said.
What troubled coach Dirk Wedd and his staff was that even Lawrence’s best players were culprits in some of the miscues, which seemed small in the moment.
“It may start off as a snowball,” Wedd said, “but it ends up being an avalanche.”
LHS (0-1) doesn’t want to get buried in its own snafus again today in its 7 p.m. road game against Shawnee Mission Northwest (1-0) at SM North District Stadium.
Senior receiver and defensive back Will Thompson said a big night from the Lions’ offensive line would help their rushing game, which produced just 2.7 yards a carry in the opener.
Strauss rushed for 45 yards and Tyrone Jenkins accounted for 35, while no one else broke into double digits.
“Odds are it’s gonna be raining again,” Thompson said, “and those guys (the O-line) have got to step up with their blocking, and us as receivers, we’ve got to work on our blocking even more with it being slippery out.”
More than that, Strauss said each LHS player can take it upon himself to make sure things go more smoothly against SMNW, which beat Olathe North, 25-14, last week.
“Every person on the team doing their job every single play … if we can do that, then we can win some games,” the senior QB and free safety said.
Thompson said the Lions aren’t as good as they want to be yet, particularly on offense.
“We can’t get down in the red zone and not get a touchdown,” Thompson said, referring to three such occasions in the final five minutes against SMW. “It killed us on Friday night.”
Obviously, the blown chances and the loss disappointed Wedd, but he said Strauss’s 195 passing yards in the pouring rain impressed him, and the Lions have responded at practices, demonstrating their character.
“We’ve got a pretty high ceiling,” Wedd said.