Behind strong defense, Lions fight past O-South
After recording more than 400 yards of offense and four touchdowns Friday, the only thing Lawrence High’s offensive players wanted to talk about afterward was the performance of their defense.
In Olathe South’s final three possessions, Lawrence’s defense forced two punts and a turnover on downs, securing a 28-14 victory in the school’s “Pink Out” game at LHS.
The Lions allowed an average of 32.4 points in their first five games. After a week of practice trying to erase memories of last week’s loss, most of their problems stopping the run disappeared. Pass plays just meant they were going to swarm the backfield.
“Our defense stepped up huge,” Lawrence senior quarterback Dante Jackson said. “After last week, they knew they had to come ready and they showed up, for sure.”
Midway through the third quarter, tied 14-all, the Lions (4-2) missed a short field goal and needed to rely on their defense. Olathe South’s drive stalled at midfield following a 3rd-down sack from junior defensive tackle EJ Jewsome.
Inspired by the defense, the Lions had a nine-play, 70-yard scoring drive completed by a 3-yard touchdown run from freshman running back Cole Mondi. Jackson extended the drive with a 25-yard pass to senior receiver Jalen Dudley on 3rd-and-long.
“I’m kind of still in shock,” said the 5-foot-11, 253-pound Jewsome, who had two sacks. “We had to keep great energy the whole game and don’t let bad plays get to you. It was next-play mentality the whole game.”
After the Lions forced another punt from midfield — helped by a combined sack from Jewsome and Sam Bart — the Lions drained more than five minutes off of the clock in the fourth quarter on a 86-yard drive on run plays between Jackson and running back Angel Garcia. Jackson finished the possession with an acrobatic 11-yard scramble to the end zone, diving over the goal line.
Lawrence coach Dirk Wedd thought it was possibly one of the team’s best drives in years because it essentially ended the game by burning the clock and taking a two-score lead.
“Boy, they just did a great job up front,” Wedd said. “They knocked people off the ball like they have for most of the year. Dante basically just said ‘Get on my back and I’ll take you to the promised land.'”
In the first half against O-South (1-5), Lawrence’s defensive linemen Nick Miller and Tim Vongphachanh recorded sacks. Defensive ends Bart and Eric Galbreath helped stop the run, along with linebackers Caleb Mondi, Cole Mondi and Ja’Relle Dye.
Jackson, who had 126 rushing yards and 132 passing yards, even grabbed an interception on his first play at cornerback in the first quarter.
“I don’t think they played any harder,” Wedd said of the defense. “They tackled so much better.”
Lawrence opened with touchdowns on its first two drives, both possessions lasting at least nine plays with a constant push forward on run plays. Jackson tossed a 5-yard touchdown pass to senior receiver Ekow Boye-Doe (five catches, 67 yards) and senior running back Hunter Krom had an 8-yard touchdown run.
“We know we can put points on the board,” Jackson said. “Our defense had to step up big and that’s what they did. Seven points at half is the best we’ve done and it was great.”
LAWRENCE 28, OLATHE SOUTH 14
ON | LHS
First downs 12 | 22
Rushes-yards 32-152 | 48-271
Passing yards 86 | 132
Total offense 238 | 403
Fumbles-lost 0-0 | 0-0
Penalties-yards 6-40 | 8-78
Score by quarters
O-South 0 7 7 0 — 14
Lawrence 14 0 7 7 — 28
OS: Tyler Cavil 19-136 2 TD, Nick Jouret 10-6, Jake Noernberg 3-10.
LHS: Hunter Krom 17-92 TD, Dante Jackson 21-126 TD, Cole Mondi 4-21 TD, Angel Garcia 6-32.
OS: Jouret 10-18–86 INT.
LHS: Jackson 9-13–132 TD and INT.
OS: AJ Shields 2-29, Benjamin Landshut 3-29, Cavil 3-13, Blaize White 1-negative 6, Kolby Murphy 1-negative 4, Noernberg 0-25.
LHS: Ekow Boye-Doe 5-67 TD, Jalen Dudley 2-47, Bryson Cummins 1-negative 5, Krom 1-23.
HOW THEY SCORED
8:56 — Ekow Boye-Doe 8 pass from Dante Jackson. Ross Brungardt kick. (LHS 7, OS 0.)
0:58 — Hunter Krom 8 run. Brungardt kick. (LHS 14, OS 0.)
8:33 — Tyler Cavil 4 run. Adam Young kick. (LHS 14, OS 7.)
10:40 — Cavil 53 run. Young kick. (LHS 14, OS 14.)
0:18 — Cole Mondi 3 run. Brungardt kick. (LHS 21, OS 14.)
3:31 — Jackson 11 run. Brungardt kick. (LHS 28, OS 14.)