Preps notebook: Hard work paying off for LHS senior
photo by: Kevin Anderson
Lawrence High senior E.J. Jewsome can vividly remember his first varsity snap.
At the time, the then-junior defensive tackle thought he blew by the opposing offensive lineman with ease. Jewsome immediately felt the jitters of his first varsity contest just disappear. It wasn’t until the following film session that Jewsome discovered the truth to his debut for the Lions.
“I thought I did a pretty good job getting past my blocker,” Jewsome said. “The next morning, I saw that I fell on my face even though nobody touched me. It was a welcome to varsity football.”
But Jewsome has served as an example about how much hard work can pay off.
After being academically ineligible as a sophomore, Jewsome made a number of plays for LHS during his junior campaign. Jewsome then put in the work in the offseason, in which he managed to squat 600 pounds.
Jewsome has produced on a weekly basis for LHS, which is 1-3 after notching a 21-6 win over Olathe Northwest.
“I will use him for the rest of my coaching career as an inspiration for the kids,” LHS head coach Steve Rampy said. “So they understand how important it is, and what you can do when you buckle down and get it done.”
photo by: Kevin Anderson
However, that determination has always been a trait for Jewsome.
Jewsome started playing football in the fourth grade when his brother, Asaph Jewsome, was a freshman linebacker for Lawrence. Asaph Jewsome went on to play at Baker University, while E.J. Jewsome eventually became a leader for the Lions’ defense.
“I’m out here because of him,” Jewsome said. “He left some pretty big shoes to fill.”
Jewsome began the year playing both guard and nose tackle before switching back to only defense following the season opener. Since then, Jewsome has been a force on the defensive line and even recovered a crucial fumble in last week’s win.
Yet, Rampy believes that Jewsome’s best performance is still to come.
“His story is about how far he’s come,” Rampy said. “He still hasn’t played as well as I know he’s capable of playing. He’s going to get better.”
LHS plays host to Shawnee Mission Northwest (3-1) at 7 p.m. Friday.
Prediction: Shawnee Mission Northwest over Lawrence
‘The Mayor’ is vital for FSHS
Free State senior Jaxson Webb has grown fond of his nickname, even if he’s not certain who came up with it.
Webb was dubbed ‘The Mayor’ by those close to him, mostly because he gives firm handshakes and he gives a number of them everyday. For Webb, though, the nickname perfectly illustrates his desire to get to know people.
“Human interaction is a fun thing,” Webb said. “If you have a chance to make somebody’s day, I think that’s something you should take advantage of. You never know what someone could be going through, so it’s good to reach out to somebody everyday.”
photo by: Kyle Babson
It’s that type of mindset that has allowed Webb to make a seamless transition since transferring to FSHS last year.
Webb spent his first two seasons playing quarterback and safety for Oskaloosa, a 3A school, at the varsity level before going to Free State last season. The adjustment was an easy one, however, as Webb knew a majority of his teammates from playing against them in junior high.
Even the coaching staff quickly embraced Webb.
“He’s probably the nicest young man I’ve been around for quite some time,” FSHS coach Bob Lisher said. “He’s just a great guy to be around and a good leader. Everybody loves him, and he’s a good player on top of that.”
In his two seasons, Webb has also demonstrated his versatility for the Firebirds.
Webb starts as a receiver, but has played meaningful snaps as a quarterback, as well. In the season opener, starting quarterback Malik Berry was shaken up following an interception return and Webb scored on the ensuing offensive play via a 3-yard touchdown run.
For the season, Webb has caught five passes for 54 yards and recorded 56 rushing yards on 10 carries. Webb, who has three touchdowns on the season, also serves as the quarterback for the scout team in practice.
“I always have to stay focused because my role could change at any point,” Webb said. “It’s been a good thing for me to keep my eyes open. I’m just trying to provide for my team the best I can.”
Webb, who also plays baseball, would like to do both sports at the next level, but understands that may not be possible.
As a result, Webb wants to make his final football season count.
“People are most happy when they talk about winning their last game,” Webb said. “For me to win my last-ever football game would mean winning a state title. I think we have the talent to do that.”
Free State (4-0) plays host to Sedalia Smith-Cotton (Mo.) (2-3) at 7 p.m. Friday.
Prediction: Free State over Sedalia Smith-Cotton
FSHS probable starters
QB — Malik Berry, jr.; RB — Jax Dineen, sr.; WR — Peyton Sparks, sr.; WR — Jaxon Webb, sr.; H — Keenan Garber, sr.; H — LJ Mack, sr.; TE — Jake Zenger, sr.; LT — Turner Corcoran, jr.; LG — Shane Skwarlo, sr.; C — Kyle Flachsbarth, jr.; RG — Zach Rasys, sr.; RT — Ryan Lutz, jr.
DT — Lovette Epelle, jr.; NT — Devon Buck, jr.; DT — Brandon Zeller, sr.; OLB — Matt Georgie, sr.; ILB — Jalen Nash, sr.; ILB — Jax Dineen, sr.; OLB — Ben Miller, jr.; CB — Oliver Paranjothi, sr.; CB — Jaxon Malone, sr.; FS — Keenan Garber, sr.; SS — Malik Berry, jr.
Baldwin at Paola
Baldwin bounced back in a big way with a 28-6 win over Eudora last week.
The Bulldogs (2-2) play well when they can run the ball and sustain drives. Baldwin has scored a total of 63 points in the two wins, while the team has recorded 14 points in the two defeats. Last week, Connor Quick led the ground game with 110 yards and two scores on 25 carries.
Paola (4-0) has allowed just 13 points through the first four weeks of the regular season.
Prediction: Paola over Baldwin
Eudora vs. Louisburg
Eudora is still seeking its first win of the 2018 campaign.
Under first-year head coach Sean Hayden, the Cardinals have dropped four games to start the season. Eudora has scored a total of 20 points in the four losses, allowing 130 points over that span.
Senior quarterback Gavin Elston has been one of the few bright spots, as he rushed for 108 yards and a score on 17 carries during a loss to Baldwin last week. Louisburg (4-0) has not allowed more than 21 points in a game this year.
Prediction: Louisburg over Eudora
Tonganoxie vs. Piper
After dropping the first two games, Tonganoxie is back to .500 with a pair of wins in the last two weeks.
The Chieftains (2-2) have leaned on senior Korbin Riedel during this recent success. Over the last two games, Riedel has carried the ball 63 times for 313 yards and five touchdowns. To put that in comparison, Riedel accumulated 91 yards on 10 rushes through the first two games of the season.
Tonganoxie, which scored a total of 13 points through two weeks, has posted a combined 62 points over the previous two games. KC Piper (3-1) is coming off a 28-21 home loss to Louisburg.
Prediction: Piper over Tonganoxie
Perry-Lecompton at Santa Fe Trail
Perry-Lecompton is averaging just under 50 points per game through the first half of the regular season.
The Kaws (3-1) are led by senior Dalton Kellum, who is averaging 9.8 yards per carry on 72 rushes. Blaine Pattin has recorded 184 yards on 23 carries, while Shane Quinlan has toted the ball 24 times for 111 yards. Sophomore Hayden Robb is leading the team with 47 total tackles, including 26 solo stops.
Perry-Lecompton has won three games by an average margin of 49.33 points. Santa Fe Trail (2-2) has scored a total of 25 points in its two losses.
Prediction: Perry-Lecompton over Santa Fe Trail
Veritas at St. John’s
Veritas got in the win column last week, snapping a three-game losing skid to open the season.
The Eagles (1-3) managed just six points in the first three games before pouring in a 30-point outburst in a 30-6 home win over Kansas City East last week. Running back Andrew Windheuser has been the focal point of the team’s offense for much of the year.
Prediction: Veritas over St. John’s
Last week: 3-2