In the morning before Friday’s football game against Shawnee Mission South, Lawrence High coach Dirk Wedd told senior running back JD Woods that the first play on offense was going to him on a toss play.
They couldn’t have planned it any better. Woods took the ball and ran 70 yards down the LHS sideline for a touchdown, starting a huge day for Woods in a 42-6 blowout victory at LHS in the school’s homecoming game.
Woods, the electric 5-foot-7, 180-pounder, finished with 257 yards and four touchdowns on 12 carries, averaging 21.4 yards every time he touched the ball. It’s the second time this season he’s run for a long touchdown on the game’s first play.
“JD is one of a kind,” senior lineman Trey Georgie said. “He is so fast and explosive. When we saw him running down the sideline, we knew he was going to score.”
On Lawrence’s second possession, Woods finished a seven-play, 50-yard drive with a seven-yard touchdown run. He added a 37-yard touchdown run in the second quarter and ran for a 91-yard touchdown in the third quarter, sprung by a big kick-out block from senior Peter Afful.
Woods also had another touchdown run called back by a holding penalty, which eventually turned into a one-yard score on a sneak by LHS quarterback Alan Clothier.
“Receivers … best blocking corps that I could ever ask for,” Woods said. “They just do a really good job blocking. I credit them and our coaches for getting that play set up like that.”
Woods ran a 100-meter dash in 10.73 seconds during track last spring, the third-fastest time in the state. Once he breaks into open field, he speeds past the defense and celebrates with a salute once he’s in the end zone.
“The thing about 10.7 — that’s track speed, but he’s fast football speed,” Wedd said. “Some track guys when they put the pads on, they slow down. He frickin’ speeds up. He’s a true burner.”
With Woods providing the highlights on offense, the LHS defense dominated with its linemen and linebackers. The Lions, who had a big size advantage on both sides of the line, allowed only 18 total yards in the first half with plenty of tackles in the backfield.
In the first half, seniors Price Morgan, Nate Koehn, Amani Bledsoe and junior Jake Unruh all recorded sacks. Senior linebackers Konner Kelley and Tanner Green, Bledsoe, Georgie and junior safety Santino Gee added tackles in the backfield on run plays.
“Just played football,” Kelley summed up. “Just have to be mean. Everyone did their job and we succeeded obviously.”
In the third quarter, the Raiders (0-5) had two drives near midfield, but both stalled when Lawrence’s linebackers and defensive backs made tackles in the backfield. Senior cornerback J’Mony Bryant had two stops when SM South tried to run option plays.
“The coaches are setting us up to succeed,” Kelley said. “Just the backers — we call ourselves “The Reapers” — we have to buy in and it’ll pay off.”
The Lions (5-0) — off to their best start to a season since 2005 — put all of their backups on the field for the fourth quarter. Junior running back James Reeder ran for a five-yard touchdown in the middle of the quarter and SM South senior running back Kyhiem Matthews sprinted for a 58-yard touchdown on the game’s final play.
The final play took away a shutout from the Lions, but couldn’t touch their confidence.
“Once (we get) that first score of the game, we find our rhythm,” Kelley said. “We just keep kicking. We’re like a train that don’t stop.”
First downs 8 6
Rushes-yards 30-305 43-109
Passing yards 61 21
Total offense 366 130
Return yards 52 108
Fumbles-lost 2-1 3-0
Penalties-yards 9-85 4-23
Score by quarters
SM South 0 0 0 6 — 6
Lawrence 14 14 7 7 — 42
LHS: JD Woods 12-257 4 TD, Alan Clothier 8-12 TD, James Reeder 7-34 TD, Santino Gee 2-3, Hunter Krom 1-(negative) 1.
SMS: Kyhiem Matthews 12-83 TD, Zach McQueen 21-9, Cooper Patterson 4-(negative) 1, Michael Carter 3-10, Tyler Law 1-1, Will Choate 2-7.
LHS: Clothier 6-7–61.
SMS: McQueen 3-9–21, Choate 0-1-0 .
LHS: Price Morgan 2-37, Dante’ Jackson 3-20, Tanner Green 1-4.
SMS: Christian Murrell 1-7, Patterson 1-6, Law 1-8.
HOW THEY SCORED
11:39 — JD Woods 70 run. Cole Brungardt kick good. (LHS 7, SMS 0.)
3:36 — Woods 7 run. Brungardt kick good. (LHS 14, SMS 0.)
7:26 — Alan Clothier 1 run. Brungardt kick good. (LHS 21, SMS 0.)
5:07 — Woods 37 run. Brungardt kick good. (LHS 28, SMS 0.)
3:49 — Woods 91 run. Brungardt kick good. (LHS 35, SMS 0.)
7:41 — James Reeder 5 run. Ross Brungardt kick good. (LHS 42, SMS 0.)
0:00 — Kyhiem Matthews 58 run. (LHS 42, SMS 6.)