OVERLAND PARK — Protecting a three-score lead in the third quarter Thursday, Lawrence High senior quarterback Dante Jackson looked down the field and saw no open receivers on a 3rd-and-16 play.
If anyone needed a reminder of his explosiveness, Jackson scrambled to his left and sprinted through an opening to pick up 21 yards and a first down to continue the drive. A few plays later, he scored on a five-yard touchdown run.
Jackson’s ability to make plays with his legs, plus a few strong throws, highlighted Lawrence’s offense in a 69-31 road victory over Shawnee Mission North. Jackson had four rushing touchdowns and three scores through the air, combining for 283 total yards himself.
“I just felt like I had to make a statement,” said the 5-foot-8, 155-pound Jackson, who ran for 198 yards on 19 attempts after top running back Hunter Krom exited with an injury in the first quarter.
Jackson, who missed last week’s season opener for disciplinary reasons, started fast and set the tone quickly. On the first series, he completed a 5-play, 52-yard drive in less than two minutes, finding 6-2 senior receiver Jalen Dudley with a 24-yard touchdown pass.
Dudley added another 11-yard touchdown reception on the team’s second drive and had a 75-yard kickoff return touchdown in the second half, which he credited to impressive blocking.
The Lions (2-0) scored on all of their offensive drives until backups stepped on the field in the final minutes.
“We probably could have scored 100, honestly,” Jackson said. “We were just clicking.”
Snapping the ball as soon as the officials would let them, the Lions never broke out of their rhythm. Senior running back Angel Garcia had 90 rushing yards and a touchdown on 17 attempts. Jackson added a 25-yard touchdown toss to junior receiver Brett Chapple at the end of the second quarter for a 41-10 advantage.
But the Lions didn’t have a chance to celebrate their offense in the locker room. SM North (0-2) scored two touchdowns within 20 seconds at the end of the first half, which was aided by an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the Lions after one of their scores.
SM North quarterback Dustin McKessor connected with senior receiver Nate McCoy on a 24-yard touchdown pass, then the Lions fumbled on the ensuing kickoff. Two plays later, McCoy caught another touchdown, cutting the score to 41-24 at half.
“We have some very, very talented kids and I’ve just done a poor job of discipline,” Wedd said. “We’re going to get that straightened out.”
Once SM North looked like it was going to turn the game into a shootout, the LHS defense responded. The Lions forced a three-and-out punt on the first drive of the second half, which Wedd called the game’s “biggest series.”
LHS junior linebacker Caleb Mondi grabbed an interception in the third quarter and the Lions forced two fumbles, including a 93-yard fumble recovery touchdown by senior defensive lineman Tim Vongphachanh.
“Everyone finally locked in, did their jobs, did what they were supposed to do, and we stopped them,” senior linebacker Ja’Relle Dye said.
On both sides of the ball, the Lions were thrilled with their response in the second half.
“We always go in the locker room and come out with the mentality that the score is 0-0,” Dudley said.
Lawrence 69, Shawnee Mission North 31
LHS | SMN
First downs 19 | 16
Rushes-yards 52-357 | 27-84
Passing yards 85 | 235
Total offense 446 | 319
Fumbles-lost 3-1 | 3-2
Penalties-yards 11-116 | 12-80
Score by quarters
Lawrence 14 27 21 7 — 69
SM North 3 21 7 0 — 31
LHS: Dante Jackson 19-198 4 TD, Hunter Krom 3-28, Angel Garcia 17-90 TD, Ekow Boye-Doe 1-1, Cole Morris 7-50, Garrett Romero 3-negative 4, Team 2-negative 4.
SMN: Reese Sila 10-32, Tremaine Jackson 4-9, Dustin McKessor 5-negative 1, Billy Conaway 4-29, De’Aric Quinn 3-21, Team 1-negative 6.
LHS: D. Jackson 5-8—85 3 TD.
SMN: McKessor 18-36—209 4 TD and INT, Conaway 1-1—26.
LHS: Jalen Dudley 2-35 2 TD, Boye-Doe 2-25, Brett Chapple 1-25 TD.
SMN: Nate McCoy 7-127 3 TD, T. Jackson 1-5, Noah Laird 2-25 TD, Oscar Knowles 2-18, Conaway 6-57, Sila 1-3.
HOW THEY SCORED
10:18 — Jalen Dudley 24 pass from Dante Jackson. Ross Brungardt kick. (LHS 7, SMN 0.)
7:52 — Oscar Aguilar 39 field goal. (LHS 7, SMN 3.)
6:07 — Dudley 11 pass from Jackson. Brungardt kick. (LHS 14, SMN 3.)
11:53 — Jackson 9 run. Brungardt kick. (LHS 21, SMN 3.)
9:40 — Noah Laird 6 pass from Dustin McKessor. Aguilar kick. (LHS 21, SMN 10.)
6:45 — Angel Garcia 8 run. Brungardt kick failed. (LHS 27, SMN 10.)
4:06 — Jackson 8 run. Brungardt kick. (LHS 34, SMN 10.)
1:19 — Brett Chapple 25 pass from Jackson. Brungardt kick. (LHS 41, SMN 10.)
0:39 — Nate McCoy 24 pass from McKessor. Aguilar kick. (LHS 41, SMN 17.)
0:20 — McCoy 11 pass from McKessor. Aguilar kick. (LHS 41, SMN 24.)
9:56 — Jackson 37 run. Brungardt kick. (LHS 48, SMN 24.)
6:59 — McCoy 21 pass from McKessor. Aguilar kick. (LHS 48, SMN 31.)
6:47 — Dudley 75 kick return. Brungardt kick failed. (LHS 54, SMN 31.)
0:11 — Jackson 5 run. Dudley pass from Jackson. (LHS 62, SMN 31.)
8:05 — Tim Vongphachanh 93 fumble return. Brungardt kick. (LHS 69, SMN 31.)