The dream of an undefeated season for Lawrence High’s football team came to a screeching halt in one nightmarish quarter Friday at LHS.
Blue Valley put up 28 points in the second quarter on the way to defeating Lawrence High, 42-17, and handing the Lions their first and only loss of the season in the Class 6A sectionals.
“We picked a bad night to play poorly,” LHS coach Dirk Wedd said. “That comes over the course of a football season. You just hope it doesn’t happen when it happened.”
The Tigers were without AJ Totta in the backfield, but Will Evans proved that they didn’t need him Friday as Evans was able to run through sizable holes for the majority of the night.
Evans finished with 230 yards and two touchdowns on 32 carries.
“We didn’t own the line of scrimmage,” Wedd said. “We’ve done that all year. It was a long night.”
The Lions (10-1) did answer the Tigers’ first score to tie it at 7 when JD Woods punched it in from three yards out with 9:40 to go in the first half. Woods’ run was set up by a 93-yard quarterback keeper by Alan Clothier.
“The offensive line was incredible and just created a huge hole. It was just there,” Clothier said. “They were jumping on JD all night because they know that’s our go-to guy.”
Woods’ touchdown run was one of his few highlights of the night, as the Tigers held him to 97 yards from scrimmage — 53 on the ground and 44 through the air on four receptions. The Tigers’ defensive line contained Woods and also joined in on the second-quarter outburst. BV defensive end Jeff Gurley, nephew of former Kansas University basketball player Greg Gurley, intercepted Clothier after the pass was batted down at the line of scrimmage and returned it 27 yards for a touchdown.
Blue Valley quarterback Colton McCumber completed 13 of 30 passes for 166 yards and three touchdowns.
“They’re a really good football team,” Wedd said. “When you can’t stop them … I don’t think they punted one time.”
The Lions ended the second half with a 40-yard field goal from junior Cole Brungardt, but the 28-10 halftime deficit was too much for the Lions to overcome. Clothier accounted for the Lions’ lone second-half score by taking it 74 yards midway through the third quarter. The LHS play-caller rushed for 155 yards on 13 carries, and was 7-for-20 for 58 yards and an interception.
Clothier knew that the Tigers could not be taken lightly and that the Lions would have to play better than they did in their 56-32 victory over Shawnee Mission North in their playoff opener. The slow start in the first half had Clothier concerned, and he said it cost the Lions.
“I had a feeling going throughout the season when I saw all these small, few mistakes that they were going to hurt us, and they did tonight,” Clothier said. “In the second half, we had the chance to come back, and it just didn’t happen.”
While the season-ending loss was painful for a large group of seniors — many of whom started since their sophomore year — Clothier said the final would not diminish the bond that the Lions built.
“They mean the world to me,” Clothier said. “I wouldn’t want to go to war with anybody else but them. I will never lose contact with them, and I love them so much.”
The Tigers (9-2) will move on to the state semifinals, where they will face Olathe North (10-1) Friday at Blue Valley.
First downs 23 7
Rushes-yards 46-299 31-220
Passing yards 166 58
Total offense 467 278
Return yards 62 37
Fumbles-lost 1-0 0-0
Penalties-yards 6-55 7-80
Score by quarters
Blue Valley 0 28 7 7 — 42
Lawrence 0 10 7 0 — 17
BV: Will Evans 32-230 2 TD, Hank Daily 3-28, Colton McCumber 9-21, Gus
LHS: Alan Clothier 13-155 TD, JD Woods 14-53 TD, Peter Afful 3-12, Dante’
BV: McCumber 13-30–166 3 TD.
LHS: Clothier 7-20–58 INT.
BV: Taylor Debey 6-75 2 TD, Gomez 2-39 TD, Jeff Gurley 1-11, Evans 2-6,
Lawson Holbert 1-4.
LHS: Woods 4-44, J’Mony Bryant 1-9, Jackson 1-5, Nick Williams 1-0.
HOW THEY SCORED
10:37 — Taylor Debey 15 pass from Colton McCumber. Doug Kellerman kick.
(Blue Valley 7, Lawrence High 0.)
9:40 – JD Woods 3 run. Cole Brungardt kick. (Lawrence High 7, Blue Valley 7.)
6:35 – Will Evans 2 run. Kellerman kick. (Blue Valley 14, Lawrence High 7.)
5:32 – Jeff Gurley 27 interception return. Kellerman kick (Blue Valley 21,
Lawrence High 7.)
0:45 – Evans 4 run. Kellerman kick. (Blue Valley 28, Lawrence High 7.)
0:02 – Cole Brungardt 40-yard field goal. (Blue Valley, Lawrence High 10.)
8:45 — Debey 31 pass from McCumber. Kellerman kick. (Blue Valley 35,
Lawrence High 10.)
6:27 – Clothier 74 run. Brungardt kick. (Blue Valley 35, Lawrence High 17.)
1:37 — Gus Gomez 16 pass from McCumber. Kellerman kick. (Blue Valley 42, Lawrence High 17.)