The way Lawrence High football coach Dirk Wedd sees it, his team’s schedule gets increasingly difficult each of the first three weeks.
Step one was a 33-20 loss at Olathe South, and the Lions (0-1) don’t anticipate tonight’s opponent, Shawnee Mission East (1-0), will be any easier to deal with — kickoff at 7, at LHS — before they travel to face defending Class 6A state champion Shawnee Mission West in Week 3.
A Thursday-night season-opener allowed Wedd and his assistants to watch SME in person last week at Leavenworth, where they witnessed the Lancers “manhandle” the Pioneers, 34-0.
Wedd said SME utilized a four-man front and four linebackers to shut down Leavenworth’s ground game, and he anticipates the Lancers will try to do the same to Lawrence, in hopes of forcing the Lions to throw.
Senior Lawrence running back Drew Green rushed for 46 yards on eight carries last week, but the Lions had trouble establishing their ground attack
“We showed some flashes of doing some good things up front,” Wedd said, “but we’ve got a long ways to go in terms of being physical and playing hard every snap.”
Lawrence did have some success passing the ball, though, as junior quarterback Nyle Anderson completed eight of his 14 attempts for 118 yards and two touchdowns, and Green completed a 33-yard pass on a trick play.
Anderson, Wedd assessed, did some good things, but at times looked like a guy making his first Sunflower League start, which was the case.
“Now we want to see,” the coach added, “if he’s gonna make the next step and make that big jump.”
Green said Anderson also took control of the huddle and gave his team the mettle to compete with a talented opponent.
“He put no doubt in anybody’s mind what he was there for,” Green said. “He wasn’t scared of anything, and he came out on the first drive and threw a touchdown pass (to Zay Boldridge).”
Still, Wedd plans again to use sophomore quarterback Alan Clothier at some juncture tonight. He just didn’t want to say when and where it would happen.
Lions senior receiver and strong safety Tucker Sutter said Lawrence could have defeated O-South, and the players hope tonight they can wear down a bigger SME team.
“They’re coming in here,” Sutter said. “No game should be easy (for LHS opponents) at our stadium.”
Lawrence probable starters
LT — Alex Jones, sr.
LG — Cole Greenwood, jr.
C — Kyle Wittman, sr.
RG — Jacob Nation, sr.
RT — Amani Bledsoe, so.
QB — Nyle Anderson, jr.
RB — Drew Green, sr.
WR — Kieran Severa, sr.
WR — Tucker Sutter, sr.
WR — Zay Boldridge, sr.
WR — Adam Hayes, sr.
DT — Kyle Wittman, sr.
NG — Matt Weiss, sr.
DT — Alex Jones, sr.
OLB — Keran Severa, sr.
OLB — Ryan Bellinger, sr.
ILB — Drew Green, sr.
ILB — Tanner Green, so.
CB — JD Woods, so.
CB — Zakary McAlister, jr.
SS — Tucker Sutter, sr.
FS — Dearion Cooper, jr.