Olathe It was a different Lawrence High football team that exited the locker room at halftime Friday at Olathe District Activity Center.
After a lackluster first half when the offense couldn’t find a rhythm and the defense struggled to slow down Olathe North’s run game, the Lions just knew they needed to raise their intensity.
And that’s exactly what they did.
The Lions responded with three unanswered touchdowns in the second half and the defense stood its ground in a 28-7 victory.
“We had a long talk in the locker room,” LHS senior running back Trey Moore said. “That’s not how we play in the first half. We are a way better team than that. We just had to kick it up and we showed our true potential in the second half.”
In the second half, the Lions (4-1) were dominant on defense against Olathe North’s old-school flexbone offense, which featured almost exclusively run plays. The Eagles only attempted two passes — both incomplete.
When the Eagles drove across midfield on their first drive of the third quarter, LHS senior defensive end Jake Unruh made a tackle in the backfield for a six-yard loss. On the next play, senior defensive tackle BJ Murry sacked O-North quarterback Mason Myers and forced a fumble that was recovered by the Eagles more than 20 yards down the field.
That defensive stop helped spark the offense. LHS junior quarterback Dante’ Jackson ran for a 14-yard pickup on 3rd-and-10, then threw a 30-yard pass to junior receiver Jalen Dudley. One play later, Moore rumbled his way into the end zone on a four-yard run.
Moore, who sat out last week with a hand injury, added a 23-yard touchdown run when he went untouched on an option pitch near the end of the third quarter. He finished with 110 yards on 23 rushing attempts.
“I thought the first series (Moore) ran timid,” LHS coach Dirk Wedd said. “We told him that James (Reeder) can run the football. He got the message and he started running with his pads down.”
The Eagles (1-4) only gained 16 yards on their next two drives in the third quarter with key tackles at the line of scrimmage by Unruh, senior Santino Gee, senior Erik Shackelford and sophomore Samuel Bart.
Then Lawrence’s defense saved its best stop for the fourth quarter. Leading by two touchdowns, the Lions forced a turnover on downs at the 25-yard line with six minutes left, effectively ending O-North’s comeback attempt.
“An offense that we haven’t played before and they ran right down our throat,” senior linebacker Azariah LeBrun said. “But you know what, we came back out in the second half with a mentality to go get them and keep them down.”
It was a big change from the first half when the Lions struggled to stop the quick, misdirection run plays from the Eagles.
Wedd said it’s difficult to practice against the flexbone offense because there’s no way to replicate the speed.
"I think we were patting ourselves on the back from last week," Wedd said. "What I was most proud of was how they responded."
Lawrence’s quick-paced, no-huddle offense had mostly quick punts in the first half. Four of the team’s five drives in the first half lasted four plays or less and forced the defense back on the field within the next 90 seconds.
The lone exception was a 15-play drive at the end of the first quarter, boosted by a pair of defensive pass interference penalties and a five-yard run by senior James Reeder on a fake punt. LHS junior fullback Angel Garcia scored on a one-yard run.
“Offensively, we were just in a funk,” Wedd said. “I did a bad job of play calling and they did a bad job of executing. So everyone was upset at halftime.”
Jackson added a four-yard touchdown throw to sophomore receiver Caleb Mondi in the final minutes of the fourth quarter, then LeBrun recovered a pooch kick on the ensuing kickoff to help the Lions run out the remainder of the clock.
Lawrence 28, Olathe North 7
LHS | ON
First downs 16 | 12
Rushes-yards 39-199 | 50-217
Passing yards 82 | 0
Total offense 281 | 217
Fumbles-lost 0-0 | 5-0
Penalties-yards 7-64 | 12-84
Score by quarters
Lawrence 0 7 14 7 — 28
O-North 0 7 0 0 — 7
LHS: Trey Moore 23-110 2 TD, Dante Jackson 13-83, James Reeder 1-5, Angel Garcia 2-1 TD.
ON: Jonya Boyd 18-91 TD, Jevon Parrish 3-5, Griffin Rupert 2-9, Jumel Otiankouya 3-13, Mason Myers 6-negative 10, Deion Poindexter 12-68, Malik Baynham-Brown 1-3, Zac Krause 5-38.
LHS: Jackson 5-12–82 TD.
ON: Myers 0-1–0, Krause 0-1–0.
LHS: Clarence King 3-48, Jalen Dudley 1-30, Caleb Mondi 1-4 TD.
HOW THEY SCORED
11:21 — Angel Garcia 1 run. Cole Brungardt kick. (LHS 7, ON 0.)
2:55 — Jonya Boyd 10 run. Riley Alderman kick. (LHS 7, ON 7.)
6:47 — Trey Moore 4 run. Brungardt kick. (LHS 14, ON 7.)
2:11 — Moore 23 run. Brungardt kick. (LHS 21, ON 7.)
1:37 — Caleb Mondi 4 pass from Dante Jackson. Brungardt kick. (LHS 28, ON 7.)