Overland Park The way sophomore quarterback Alan Clothier and senior running back Drew Green tore up the field behind Lawrence High’s offensive line Friday night at Shawnee Mission North District Stadium, gashing the Shawnee Mission Northwest defense drive after drive, one would assume either of the Lions’ yeomen would be rewarded with a touchdown carry in Lawrence’s 16-7 road victory.
Nope. Not with that vulture Kieran Severa hovering around.
A senior wide receiver for LHS (2-3), Severa lined up in the backfield inside the Cougars’ five-yard line twice at the end of lengthy Lawrence drives and reaped the benefit of his teammates’ hard work on his way to a pair of rushing touchdowns. All in good fun, Severa’s teammates and coaches called him a vulture, because he came in to scavenge scores after the O-line and backs battered SMNW defenders for five-plus minutes, making them easy prey.
Clothier rushed for 160 yards in his first career start, Green picked up 92 more on the ground, and there was one of their wide receivers, getting to have all the fun.
Severa, who finished with just 17 yards on five carries, had to laugh while admitting to stealing points from his fellow Lions. The beneficiary said he spent most of his time on those drives blocking cornerbacks who weren’t putting up much of a fight.
On Lawrence’s first series of the game, coach Dirk Wedd called 12 straight running plays for Green, Clothier and sophomore running back JD Woods. When Wedd dialed up Severa’s name on second-and-goal at the 2, the receiver said his buddy Green gave him a skeptical look.
“And I just say, ‘Hey, block your butt off. We’re gonna score,’” Severa shared. “And he says, ‘All right, all right.’”
The exchanges were more light-hearted than anything, and Severa said the way the Lions divvied up responsibilities showed how unselfish they are as a group.
“If Drew said, ‘Hey, switch with me. You play fullback,’” Severa offered, “I’d say, ‘Hell, yeah. You get the touchdown.’”
Green couldn’t stop smiling after Lawrence’s second straight win, as he thought about his pal Severa rushing across the goal line for the team’s only touchdowns — junior kicker Ellis Springe provided three more points with a 26-yard field goal in the second quarter.
“If the score turns out like this every time, we’re ahead, I don’t care who (runs for touchdowns),” Green said. “Coach Wedd can take it in for all I care. I mean, as long as we’re putting points on the board it doesn’t matter.”
Had it not been for a hiccup on special teams, the Lions would have built quite the showpiece victory against SMNW (1-4). They out-gained the Cougars, 313-118, in total yards, and SMNW never finished off a drive with a score. Cougars senior Jake Horner returned a kickoff 79 yards for a TD with less than three minutes left in the first quarter, after Severa’s first touchdown, but that was all the points SMNW could muster.
Wedd said Cougars running backs Duron Lowe and Laphonso McKinnis had enough speed to worry him, as did quarterback Horner. But the Lions held SMNW to 3.7 yards a carry on the ground, and Lowe only completed one of his six passes.
“The defense threw a shutout,” Wedd said, praising defensive coordinator Adam Green for his game plan. “You can’t ask any more of a defense than what they did tonight. That was an unbelievable job.”
LHS came up with stops all over the field. Linebacker Price Morgan, cornerback Nick Benton, defensive ends Zay Boldridge and Ryan Bellinger, and just about every player who stepped on the field made something happen.
Even Severa proved he was more than a one-trick Lion, picking off a deep pass from Horner and recovering a Jacob Gilliam fumble in the second half. A free safety on defense, Severa said he happened to be in the right spots at the right times.
“That fumble recovery, that was not me,” he said, pointing to linebackers Drew Green and Tanner Green for blowing up the play. “The reason they had to pass on my interception was because our defensive line was holding them up there (on running plays). I can attribute both those turnovers to my teammates.”
As far as the LHS offense went, Drew Green had to cite Clothier, who replaced starter Nyle Anderson at quarterback, because health issues kept Anderson from practicing this week.
Clothier only threw the ball three times, completing two passes for 16 yards, but he consistently found running lanes behind linemen Kyle Wittman, Alex Jones, Jacob Nation, Cole Greenwood and Amani Bledsoe. And when the Cougars tried to bring the sophomore QB to the turf, he often shook them off.
“We had a sophomore quarterback back there whose eyes were huge, and he responded great,” Green said. “… It looked like those wide eyes helped them see a little bit more, because he was slippery. He’s tough to bring down. He’s a strong kid, and he’s a fighter. You know it’s not gonna be one person to bring him down. It’s gonna take a whole clan of ’em.”
The Lions will play host to Olathe North (3-2) on Friday.
LHS | SMNW
First downs 19 | 8
Rushes-yards 58-297 | 31-113
Passing yards 16 | 5
Total offense 313 | 118
Return yards 41 | 81
Fumbles-lost 2-2 | 2-1
Penalties-yards 3-14 | 6-45
Score by quarters
LHS 7 3 6 0 — 16
SMNW 7 0 0 0 — 7
LHS: Alan Clothier 22-160, Drew Green 24-92, JD Woods 5-30, Kieran Severa 5-17 2 TDs, Team 2-minus-2.
SMNW: Duron Lowe 16-70, Jacob Gilliam 4-17, Jake Horner 6-18, Laphonso McKinnis 5-8.
LHS: Clothier 2-3-16.
SMNW: Horner 1-6-5 interception, Clay Drouillard 0-1-0.
LHS: Severa 1-13, Zay Boldridge 1-3.
SMNW: Max Jenks 1-5.
HOW THEY SCORED
2:53 — Kieran Severa 2 run. Ellis Springe kick. (LHS 7, SMNW 0.)
2:42 — Jake Horner 79 kickoff return. Connor Johnson kick. (LHS 7, SMNW 7.)
7:06 — Springe 26 field goal. (LHS 10, SMNW 7.)
6:08 — Severa 4 run. Springe kick wide right. (LHS 16, SMNW 7.)