After allowing more than 400 rushing yards in a loss last week, Lawrence High’s football players are confident they will learn from their mistakes.
During practices, Lawrence’s defense spent plenty of time improving their form tackling against ball carriers. The Lions hope it will make a difference when they match up against Shawnee Mission West at 7 p.m. today at SM South District Stadium.
The Vikings (0-3) have only scored a total of 23 points this season, but primarily run the ball through dynamic senior running back Kirby Grisgby, who has 157 rushing yards on 63 attempts. Grigsby led the team with 10 touchdowns last year.
“So far this week just working on tackling and wrapping up,” LHS senior safety Harry King said. “That’s what we’re going to continue to work on. Make sure we execute with that because that’s a major key.”
Through three games, the Lions (2-1) have given up an average of 34 points per game. With a mostly new starting lineup, players said they are starting to show improvements.
But in their 49-35 loss to Lee’s Summit (Mo.) West, the Lions realized some more of the changes they needed to make.
“I feel we’re coming together a lot, especially this week,” junior defensive end Eric Galbreath said. “I feel after learning from last week, we’re definitely getting it together.”
Lawrence coach Dirk Wedd added: “We do some really good things. There are snaps where we are a really good defense. Then there are snaps where they are not doing what they are told. They’ll get better.”
Galbreath received a couple of starts last season and has embraced a larger role on the defensive line. He’s improved as a pass rusher, which he said was an emphasis heading into the year.
Perhaps more importantly, the 6-foot-7, 195-pound Galbreath said he feels like a smarter player on the field.
“We just want to come together as a defense and connect as one,” Galbreath said. “We can’t individually blame each other. We have to work together, make sure we’re all doing our jobs.”
With a few assignment breakdowns, Galbreath said it’s important for the defense to follow the offense’s example.
“I think we’re improving but we still have a lot more improvements to make,” King said.
LHS probable starters
LT — Kristian Russell, sr.
LG — Nick Englebert, sr.
C — Jacob Mills, sr.
RG — Bailey Greer, sr.
RT — Bryce Tibke, jr.
QB — Dante Jackson, sr.
RB — Cole Morris, so.
WR — Ekow Boye-Doe, sr.
WR — Jalen Dudley, sr.
WR — Brett Chapple, jr.
WR — Bryson Cummins, jr.
K — Ross Brungardt, jr.
P — Jalen Dudley, sr.
DE — Eric Galbreath, jr.
DT — Tim Vongphachanh, sr.
DT — EJ Jewsom, jr.
DE — Nick Miller, jr.
LB — Ja’Relle Dye, sr.
LB — Isaac Flint, jr.
LB — Caleb Mondi, jr.
CB — Ekow Boye-Doe, sr.
CB — DeShon Lewis, so.
SS — Jakoby Masters, jr.
FS — Harrison King, sr.