Lions’ RB duo focus of Showdown

They aren’t quite as dynamic as Batman and Robin, but Lawrence High running backs JD Woods and Trey Moore have created their own dominant duo during the first two weeks of the season.

Woods ranks fifth in the Sunflower League with 225 rushing yards on 41 attempts and has scored three touchdowns. Moore, a sophomore, is eighth in the league with 180 yards on 17 carries and a touchdown.

The two have played a big part in the Lions’ ground game, which is second in the league in yards. They’ll also be a big focus for Free State High’s defense in the City Showdown at 7 tonight at LHS.

“Trey is a really good player,” said Woods, a 5-foot-7, 170-pound junior who also starts at cornerback. “He still has to learn a lot like I did my sophomore year, but I think he’s going to be really good. He’s starting to catch on really good. He runs hard, and he practices hard. He scores on our No. 1 defense all the time.”

The running backs — still without a collective nickname — bring different skill sets to their rushing attack. Woods, despite his stature, isn’t afraid to put his head down to fight for extra yards. Moore is better at bouncing runs to the outside and waiting for holes to open. They’re similar in that they’ll both give credit to the offensive line when they have big games.

“JD is a little bit shiftier. He’s got a little bit of wiggle,” LHS coach Dirk Wedd said. “Not saying the other one doesn’t. Trey’s got really good moves. Trey is more, he’ll cut one time and then go. Probably in a straight-line race, I don’t know, maybe on a football field, Trey might be a half-of-a-step faster. Then JD is just quick on quick.”

Woods has given Moore tips throughout the summer and this fall on how to become a better running back. Yet, Woods followed Moore’s lead last week. Moore had a 60-yard scamper in the first quarter, and Woods quickly responded with a 20-yard run before a five-yard plunge into the end zone.

“We both every day at practice just challenge each other and go hard every rep,” Moore said. “It’s just fun watching him run, and I try to do the same. He’s teaches me the ropes how to do it because he did it last year, so it’s a good experience.”

Though they’re both happy with their starts to the season, Woods isn’t satisfied.

“I’m not happy yet. I’m on a mission to catch Olathe North’s Venus Triplett right now,” Woods said about the Sunflower League’s leading rusher last year and this season. “Once I catch him, then I’ll be happy.”

Free State’s defense is prepared to make sure that doesn’t happen. The Firebirds held Triplett to 100 yards on 41 attempts, just 2.4 yards per carry, last week.

“They’re going to try to pound the ball, and we’re trying to do the same,” FSHS senior tight end and defensive end Blake Murray said. “It’s going to be a battle of fronts the whole night.”

The Firebirds (1-1) have won six of the past seven City Showdowns, and the Lions (1-1) are focused on putting an end to that streak. It’ll start with the run game and the ultra-competitive Woods.

“He’s a good team leader,” Wedd said of Woods. “He wants to be successful, and more importantly he wants the team to be successful. He hates to lose. He’s got a real burning desire to win, and that’s contagious, especially when it’s your running back.”