Lions head out of state for first time in program history
For the first time in the 125-year, tradition-rich history of Lawrence High’s football program, the Lions will travel across state lines for a game.
The Lions will go on the road to play Lee’s Summit (Mo.) West at 7 tonight. It’s the first-ever Sunflower League/Suburban Conference Showdown, a matchup pitting teams from Kansas and Missouri against each other.
Previously, the only time the Lions faced an out-of-state school was Oct. 25, 1996, playing host to Bear Creek High from Lakewood, Colo.
“It’s pretty cool to be at Lawrence High with 8 trillion traditions and have one that is the first one,” LHS coach Dirk Wedd said. “That’s pretty neat.”
The Lions (2-0) will have to adjust to playing a new school for the first time, but several of their own offseason changes have produced strong results in the first two weeks.
Playing with a platoon for linemen and most skill positions — players don’t take a significant amount of snaps on both sides of the ball — the Lions have noticed they usually have more energy than their opponents in the second half. With the offensive and defensive lines split up in practice, senior right guard Jesse Tunget said it feels like they’ve already taken about the same amount of reps as last year.
Wedd said one of things that sold him on the idea of platoons was watching two-way linemen senior Jake Unruh and graduated seniors Trey Georgie and Amani Bledsoe become tired late in games, despite playing in “unbelievable shape.”
“Ten years ago, if you ran 50 plays on offense, you were doing cartwheels and knowing that you probably won the game,” Wedd said. “Now, we’re in the range of 70-80 plays a game. Last week we were 79 and we slowed down the last six minutes.”
For the success of the platoon in the first two weeks, look no further than the defensive line. Senior BJ Murry had a sack in each game, forcing a safety in Week One. Unruh recorded two sacks against Shawnee Mission North’s strong passing attack last week and he blocked a punt.
“I was always behind Amani and Trey so it’s way different than just coming in the third and fourth quarter. But now I play every down and people are depending on me,” Murray said. “It makes a difference. I’m not as tired anymore if I was playing on offense and defense.”
Looking ahead to Lee’s Summit West (2-2), the Lions said it was exciting to face an unfamiliar opponent and put a change into their normal routine of playing mostly Sunflower League teams.
“They are talented,” Wedd said of the Titans. “Boy, they have a lot of speed and it’s going to be a huge test for us.”
LHS probable starters
LT — Kristian Russell, jr.
LG — Nick Englebert, jr.
C — Jacob Mills, jr.
RG — Jesse Tunget, sr.
RT — Kevin Nichols, sr.
QB — Dante’ Jackson, jr.
RB — Trey Moore, sr.
WR — Harrison King, jr.
WR — Caleb Mondi, so.
WR — Jalen Dudley, jr.
WR — Clarence King, so.
K — Cole Brungardt, sr.
P — Dante’ Jackson, jr.
DE — Jacob Unruh, sr.
DT — Mark Greene, sr.
DT — BJ Murry, sr.
DE — Eric Galbreath, so.
LB — Santino Gee, sr.
LB — Angel Garcia, jr.
LB — Erik Shackelford, sr.
CB — Relle Dye, jr.
CB — Jaxon Malone, so.
SS — James Reeder, sr.
FS — Cade Burghart, sr.