Lawrence High football coach Dirk Wedd has seen two different football teams rack up yardage and touchdowns against his Lions, so he can’t help feeling troubled about tonight’s opponent, Olathe East.
The Hawks (1-1) relentlessly pound the ball with their ground game. Senior running back Hayden Frazier, at 6 feet, will be the largest back the Lions (1-1) have seen, and he exploded for 257 yards and four touchdowns last week against Olathe Northwest.
LHS has allowed 137 yards a game on the ground and its opponents have scored five touchdowns in two games.
“We’re little and pounding takes a toll on us,” Wedd said. “We’ve got to be fundamentally sound and hope we can hang in there.”
Because LHS — playing host to the Hawks at 7 p.m. — had such a strong defense last season and so many players are back, senior safety Brad Strauss said the Lions feel capable of responding to O-East’s attack. In fact, they aim to force the Hawks into an identity crisis.
“We want to try to get them to throw the ball,” Strauss said.
Senior defensive back Erick Mayo and the rest of the LHS defenders have heard from Wedd that they’ll have to force O-East into second- and third-and-long situations.
“If we can get their major running plays stopped,” Mayo said, “they’re gonna have to go to the air more.”
Forcing more O-East pass plays would make Wedd and the Lawrence coaching staff happy.
“You’ve got to win a down,” Wedd said, “or they’ll take the ball and you’ll never get it back.”
The Lions are feeling better about themselves after a 42-13 road win at Shawnee Mission Northwest last week. Mayo said they knew they were capable of putting up those kind of points, even after a 20-14 Week 1 loss to SM West, and it was nice to get senior running back Tyrone Jenkins and the offense going.
To an extent, Wedd agreed.
“I don’t think that first game really had much bearing, but having said that, we needed to get back to feeling good about ourselves,” the coach said.