When Lawrence High’s football players see Shawnee Mission East as the next game on their schedule, there’s no need for any pre-game motivational speeches.
They already know the stakes and are excited to play one of the top programs in the state.
The Lions will go on the road to play SM East at 7 tonight at SM South District Stadium, attempting to end the Lancers’ 14-game winning streak against Sunflower League opponents.
“I hope my teammates crave it as much as I do to have that much competition,” Lawrence senior receiver Jalen Dudley said.
If the regular season ended Wednesday, the Lancers (5-1, ranked No. 2 in Class 6A by Kpreps.com) would be the No. 1-seeded team in 6A’s East bracket and Lawrence would be seeded No. 2.
Even without playoff implications, Lawrence (4-2) players know the challenges of lining up against SM East’s physical style of play.
“It’s fun getting physical with guys,” LHS junior defensive end Sam Bart said. “Technique, you’ve got to have it. But it’s always fun to have a big, physical game.”
The Lions were thrilled with their defensive performance last week in a 28-14 victory, the fewest number of points they’ve allowed in a game this season.
Facing the Lancers’ quick-paced, flexbone offense, Bart said there’s added importance of keeping eyes on the ball. The Lions played a similar offensive style against Olathe North, but are expecting more physicality from SM East’s offensive line.
“It was no secret coming into this year that defense was going to be the weaker side of the ball,” Bart said. “We all took that to heart. We’ve been practicing hard all year. Last week, seeing it all click and come together, really gave us a big confidence boost.”
Playing against SM East’s defense, which is giving up 10.2 points per game, Dudley said the Lions want to find balance on offense through their run game and pass plays.
“I know our run game has been powerful, so they’ll probably be keying in on that a lot,” Dudley said.
Despite playing on a Thursday, one day ahead of usual preparations, LHS players said they'll be prepared when they step on the field against one of the top-ranked teams in the state.
“It makes me bring my ‘A’ game,” Dudley said. “I just have to bring it.”
LHS probable starters
LT — Kristian Russell, sr.
LG — Nick Englebert, sr.
C — Jacob Mills, sr.
RG — John Ely, sr.
RT — Bryce Tibke, jr.
QB — Dante Jackson, sr.
RB — Hunter Krom, sr.
WR — Ekow Boye-Doe, sr.
WR — Jalen Dudley, sr.
WR — Brett Chapple, jr.
WR — Bryson Cummins, jr.
K — Ross Brungardt, jr.
P — Dante Jackson, sr.
DE — Eric Galbreath, jr.
DT — Tim Vongphachanh, sr.
DT — EJ Jewsome, jr.
DE — Sam Bart, jr.
LB — Ja’Relle Dye, sr.
LB — Cole Mondi, fr.
LB — Caleb Mondi, jr.
CB — Ekow Boye-Doe, sr.
CB — DeShon Lewis, so.
SS — Jakoby Masters, jr.
FS — Harrison King, sr.