LHS football erases early deficit in 35-10 win over Olathe North
OLATHE — The defining moment of Lawrence High’s 35-10 win over Olathe North came well before it ever took the lead Friday night at Olathe District Activity Center.
It came before the Lions even scored a single point, and it ultimately led to a double-digit deficit in the opening quarter. LHS (7-0, No. 3 in Class 6A) forced Olathe North (5-2, No. 2 in Class 6A) to settle for a field goal on its second possession of the night.
“I think it made us believe that we can stop them,” LHS head coach Steve Rampy said. “We just dominated them the rest of the game. It is unbelievable how good our defense is.”
The Eagles, who were coming off a 77-point outburst in their win over Shawnee Mission East last week, started off this week’s clash in similar fashion.
Junior quarterback Arland Bruce IV, who had 1,096 rushing yards entering the night, piled up 85 yards on the first eight plays of the night. He scored on a 34-yard touchdown run to spot Olathe North a 7-0 advantage within the first 110 seconds of the contest.
But his ninth, 10th and even the 11th rushing attempt were completely stuffed by the LHS defense. Olathe North tried three runs with Bruce from the 1-yard line, and he ended up losing two yards. It forced the Eagles to settled for a field goal, taking a 10-0 lead with 3:53 left in the first quarter.
“That was huge. If they score that, that’s just demoralizing,” junior linebacker Cole Mondi said. “Our front, that’s the best game we played. The (defensive backs) were able to make an adjustment. That was amazing.”
LHS then scored 35 unanswered points, and completely dictated things on both sides of the ball from that moment on.
Lawrence’s front-seven of Nick Ray, Dylan Gillespie, Teagan Flynn, Austin Hollins, Cole Morris, Karson Green, and Mondi bottled up Olathe North’s rushing attack after that. The Eagles finished with 137 yards on 42 attempts in the loss.
Mondi recovered a fumble in the second half to spoil Olathe North’s most-promising drive after the opening quarter.
“We just knew if we messed up, they were going to score,” Mondi said. “They did that in the first quarter. When we make adjustments, we are a really good defense and our offense can take care of it.”
The offense did just that, starting on its fourth possession of the game with a big-time throw from its signal caller. On fourth-and-18, LHS junior quarterback Jackson Dooley stared down a blitzing linebacker and hit a wide-open Devin Neal down the visitors’ sideline for a 37-yard touchdown pass.
“He made some really good plays,” Rampy said. “He missed some throws that he should have had, but that was a big one.”
One drive later, the Lions took the lead for good with another perfectly thrown ball by Dooley. On third-and-short, Dooley hit senior receiver Chris McGee in stride for a 41-yard touchdown connection.
Neal then scored three more touchdowns in the second half to remove any doubt about the outcome.
The junior running back broke multiple tackles on a 42-yard touchdown run at the 8:29 mark in the third quarter. Dooley then lofted up a 19-yard touchdown pass to Neal in the corner of the end zone on fourth down early in the fourth quarter. Neal sealed the deal with a 52-yard touchdown run at the 4:54 mark in the final period.
“It was a great win,” Rampy said. “They just came to play.”
Lawrence will play host to Free State at 7 p.m. Friday for the final game of the regular season.
Lawrence High 35, Olathe North 10
LHS | ON
First downs 14 | 8
Rushes-yards 30-153 | 42-137
Passing yards 14-30-269 | 6-22-64
Total offense 422 | 201
Fumbles-lost 0-0 | 2-2
Interceptions 1-0 | 0-0
Penalties-yards 4-35 | 3-35
Score by quarters
Lawrence High 7 7 7 14 — 35
Olathe North 10 0 0 0 — 10
LHS: Graham Hough 5-11, Devin Neal 21-154, Tre’ Jackson 1-7. Team sacks: 3-(minus 19)
ON: Arland Bruce IV 31-137, Jackson Sarver 1-(minus 1), Jacob Parrish 8-17. Team sacks: 2-(minus 16)
LHS: Jackson Dooley 14-30-269
ON: Arland Bruce 3-12-23, Jackson Sarver 4-10-41
LHS: Chris McGee 9-164, Tre’ Jackson 1-29, Devin Neal 3-66, John Green 1-10.
ON: Jacob Parrish 1-9, Mario Sanchez 1-11, Dale Stout 3-23, Sylvester Union 2-21.
HOW THEY SCORED
10:13 — Arland Bruce IV 34 run. Zach Willoughby-Neal kick good. (ON 7, LHS 0)
3:53 — Willoughby-Neal 20 field goal. (ON 10, LHS 0)
0:00 — Devin Neal 37 pass from Jackson Dooley. Connor Gellender kick good. (ON 10, LHS 7)
8:14 — Chris McGee 41 pass from Dooley. Gellender kick good. (LHS 14, ON 10)
8:29 — Neal 42 run. Gellender kick good. (LHS 21, ON 10)
10:11 — Neal 19 pass from Dooley. Gellender kick good. (LHS 28, ON 10)
4:54 — Neal 452 run. Gellender kick good. (LHS 35, ON 10)