Round two: Lions’ foe features strong ground game

Lawrence High senior J'Mony Bryant (27) stiff-arms Shawnee Mission North's Dalton Morris during the Class 6A football playoffs on Friday night at LHS.

After giving up 285 yards of offense in the first half last week, Lawrence High’s football team is ready to prove it was more a fluke than any blueprint against its defense.

The Lions will face a strong rushing attack when they play Blue Valley in the Class 6A state quarterfinals at 7 tonight at LHS.

In last week’s 56-32 victory against Shawnee Mission North, the Lions allowed a few long runs and had trouble stopping SM North’s passing attack. However, the Lions did make improvements in the second half, holding the Indians to just one touchdown until the starters exited in the fourth quarter.

“It’s basically like a second chance for us,” senior linebacker Konner Kelley said. “The coaches have put us in a good situation this week. I think we’re going to be able to stop the run, and be ready to stop any pass that they have when they do try to air it out on us.”

The top-ranked Lions (10-0) have been dominant against the run this season with their huge defensive line and strong linebackers. Blue Valley (8-2) features a three-headed rushing attack with running backs A.J. Totta and Will Evans, along with quarterback Colton McCumber.

“We’re really trying to redeem ourselves and make a big point that you can’t put up yards like that again,” LHS senior defensive tackle Nate Koehn said. “I don’t think they ran it as much after halftime. We kind of took it personally and wanted to shut it down.”

The Lions are confident they’ve fixed their mistakes from last week and coach Dirk Wedd said they’ve responded with a “great week of practice.”

It’s the first time these two teams have played each other since Blue Valley knocked the Lions out of the playoffs in 2008.

“We’ve been a really good defense all year,” Wedd said. “To be perfectly honest, we gave up 18 points before the (backups) went in. They gave up a couple touchdowns late. I think we kind of went into that football game with the attitude that we needed to keep from losing. … You can’t play protecting something. You have to play with your hair on fire.”

The Lions have plenty of faith in their offense to put up points, but they know their defense will key. Blue Valley’s defense has allowed just 11 points per game in its four-game winning streak.

“Last week was kind of an adversity check for us,” Kelley said. “Just shows what can happen to us. We need to have good practices and continue what we’re doing to make it to where we want — to make it to the state championship game.”

LHS probable starters


LT — Trey Georgie, sr.

LG — Jacob Unruh, jr.

C — Mark Greene, jr.

RG — Ethan Taylor, so.

RT — Amani Bledsoe, sr.

QB — Alan Clothier, sr.

RB — JD Woods, sr.

H — Peter Afful, sr.

WR — Ivan Hollins, sr.

WR — J’Mony Bryant, sr.

TE — Price Morgan, sr.

K — Cole Brungardt, jr.

P — Alan Clothier, sr.


DE — Trey Georgie, sr.

DT — Nathan Koehn, sr.

DT — Jacob Unruh, jr.

DE — Amani Bledsoe, sr.

LB — Konner Kelley, sr.

LB — Price Morgan, sr.

LB — Tanner Green, sr.

CB — Dante’ Jackson, so.

CB — Ivan Hollins, sr.

SS — Cade Burghart, jr.

FS — Santino Gee, jr.