Members of Lawrence High’s football team knew facing Olathe South for homecoming could prove to be an arduous task.
It turns out the Falcons might be feeling more salty than usual for tonight’s game at LHS (kickoff at 7) after losing, 3-0, last week at Shawnee Mission East. Lions coach Dirk Wedd figures SME disrupted a hornets’ nest and Lawrence will have to deal with the consequences.
“They’re gonna be jacked,” Wedd said of O-South (3-1), “because being defending state champions, maybe it was a little wakeup call.”
Senior LHS linebacker Asaph Jewsome made it clear the Lions (3-1) certainly aren’t underestimating Class 6A’s 2011 state champs just because of the surprisingly low score last week.
“They kind of fell off the train a little bit, but they’re trying to get back up,” Jewsome said, adding he’s sure O-South will come out and play with focus and fire. “Hopefully we’ll be able to match that.”
The O-South offense is tailored for senior quarterback Frank Seurer and senior running back Russell White to be protected by and follow offensive tackle Braden Smith, a 6-foot-6, 285-pound behemoth. The Falcons, who beat LHS twice last season, are the only team to score more than 21 points against Lawrence since the beginning of the 2011 season — O-South won 37-14 in the playoffs and 33-22 in the regular season.
Wedd thinks O-South is among the Sunflower League’s top four teams, a group that includes Shawnee Mission East, Free State and Shawnee Mission West.
“There’s some other guys fightin’ to get up there and we’re one of those (teams),” the LHS coach said. “We’ve got a lot to prove and we just need to see if we’re tough enough and physical enough to match Olathe South.”
Lions junior linebacker Kieran Severa said it will be up to the Lions defense to win the game. The unit has done a lot of preparation through position recognition, Severa said. Basically, the Lions need to see O-South’s formations and know what plays to expect.
“We have to be as perfect as possible every single play,” Severa said. “We’re just trying to rally to the ball, get everybody to the ball.”
LHS will get a healthy Drew Green back in the lineup this week at linebacker. Chris Gillespie, who came off the bench last week, is slated to start at right tackle, which should only bolster the offense, led by senior quarterback Brad Strauss (1,173 total yards, 14 touchdowns). However, linemen Matt Weis and Art Hall, as well as would-be starting running back Tyrone Jenkins, are still out with injuries.
Lawrence’s defense has allowed 188.3 rushing yards and 39.5 passing yards a game this season. Jewsome said the Lions will have to do a better job of tackling against O-South than they have in their first four games.
“They’ve got a running game that’s been working for them all season, and our defense is really going to have to step up this week,” Jewsome said. “We’re looking forward to seeing how we stack up when it’s Friday night, the lights hit, crowd’s all here and we’re hyped and ready to go.”