‘We showed that we are a great team’: Lawrence defeats Bishop Carroll in first game back from quarantine
photo by: Chance Parker
The opponent was more difficult. The situation leading up the game was as unique as ever. But the result was the same.
Lawrence High’s football team picked up right where it left off in its first game back from quarantine. With only two days to prepare, Lawrence (No. 1 in Class 6A) took care of business with a 37-28 win over Bishop Carroll (3-2, No. 4 in Class 5A) Saturday afternoon at LHS.
The Lions are now 4-0, but the matinee matchup was their most-impressive win to date because of what all they had to overcome.
“We showed that we are a great team,” senior running back Graham Hough said. “When we really bond together, we can do just about anything.”
It wasn’t always easy for the Lions, who had outscored their first three opponents by 130 total points. But Hough’s game-clinching touchdown symbolized what all went into Lawrence’s latest victory.
Hough had four attempts inside Bishop Carroll’s 5-yard line midway through the fourth quarter, coming up short on his first three tries. The fourth time, however, Hough punched it in from 1-yard out to give LHS a 37-28 advantage with 6:19 to go in the game.
After scoring on fourth-and-goal, Hough calmly handed the ball to the official and ran toward the sideline. It capped off a decisive 9-play scoring drive, in which Hough received seven carries and senior Jeremy Jacobson was given two attempts.
“I was really proud of Graham,” LHS head coach Steve Rampy said. “He played really well, and we know he can. That’s the first time that he ever really got the opportunity to be the guy in a game that mattered.”
Senior tailback Devin Neal, who is verbally committed to play football and baseball at the University of Kansas, was not available on that possession due to an injury. In fact, Neal didn’t have a single attempt in the fourth quarter after netting 117 yards on 17 attempts through the first three periods.
Hough stepped up in Neal’s absence, and delivered when the Lions needed him the most. He scored three times, including once off a blocked punt by senior Corban Oberzan in the first quarter. Hough finished with 94 yards on 16 carries, though 15 of those attempts came in the second half.
“Devin was having a really good game,” Hough said. “It really hurt seeing my brother go out like that. I had to fill his shoes. I had to step in his place and just do as good as he would do.”
Even with a two-score lead, the Lions wouldn’t have been able to stay undefeated without a strong response by their defense.
Senior defensive linemen Teagan Flynn and Dylan Gillespie teamed up for a sack to start things off on the ensuing drive. Senior linebacker Blake Schimmel provided incredible coverage to force an incomplete pass on second down. Senior defensive end Preston Greenwood all but wrapped things up with a sack of his own on third down to force a punt.
On the final play of the day, Oberzan came surging up the field to make a game-sealing stop on fourth-and-12 on an 11-yard connection by the Golden Eagles. It put the finishing touches on what was Lawrence’s closest win of the season.
“It was a wake-up call for us,” Rampy said. “If we don’t do our best, things don’t always go our way.”
But the Lions ultimately did enough, despite the lack of real practice time leading up to the contest. Lawrence returned to practice on Thursday after being in quarantine since Sept. 19 following a positive COVID-19 test for one LHS participant.
There was no sign of rust on the first drive, as Lawrence marched down the field with a nine-play scoring drive. Neal gave his team a 7-0 advantage with a 4-yard touchdown run. The LHS defense proceeded to force a turnover on downs on Bishop Carroll’s opening trip, thanks to a strong stop by Gillespie.
Lawrence labored at times after that, but came through with enough key moments.
Senior quarterback Jackson Dooley directed a methodical eight-play scoring drive in the final minute of the first half to give the Lions a 30-14 lead at the intermission. The possession was punctuated by a 5-yard touchdown pass to senior receiver Tre’ Jackson, but the connection to set up the score was even better.
On thirrd-and-25, Dooley rolled right to avoid pressure and fired a pass down the LHS sideline. The ball was tipped by a Bishop Carroll defender before senior receiver John Green corralled the ball for a 33-yard hookup.
“I didn’t really see what happened,” Dooley admitted after the game. “So it will be funny to see it in film.”
Yet those are the types of bounces that tend to determine how special a season can truly be.
With its perfect record still intact, Lawrence will now turn its attention to an even tougher opponent. LHS is slated to travel to St. Thomas Aquinas (4-0, No. 2 in Class 5A) next Friday. The Saints have dropped just one of their previous 27 games since the start of the 2018 season.
“A win is a win,” Dooley said. “Our next opponents just get tougher. We just have to keep going.”
Lawrence 37, Bishop Carroll 28
LHS | BC
First downs 19 | 10
Rushes-yards 37-217 | 33-193
Passing yards 213 | 147
Total offense 430 | 340
Fumbles-lost 0-0 | 2-2
Interceptions 1 | 0
Penalties-yards 8-85 | 5-40
Score by quarters
Carroll 7 7 14 0 — 28
Lawrence 14 16 0 7 — 37
BC: Hunter Trail 14-109; Aiden Niedens 14-84; Jaden Williams 2-5. Sacks: 3-(Minus 5)
LHS: Devin Neal 17-117; Graham Hough 16-94; Tre’ Jackson 1-(minus 4); Jackson Dooley 1-3; Jeremy Jacobson 2-7.
BC: Aiden Niedens 15-for-22 for 141 yards; Hunter Trail 1-for-1 for 6 yards.
LHS: Jackson Dooley 18-for-31 for 213 yards.
BC: Aiden Niedens 1-6; Noah Ferguson 6-76; Oscar Gallardo 4-32; Tate Blasi 2-7; Matt Holthusen 1-7; Alan Kerschen 1-12.
LHS: Tre’ Jackson 3-35; Devin Neal 1-0; Ben King 3-23; Graham Hough 1-30; John Green 6-66; N’tense Obono 5-64.
HOW THEY SCORED
8:15 — Devin Neal 4 run. Connor Gellender kick good. (LHS 14, BC 0)
3:01 — Graham Hough punt block for a touchdown. (LHS 14, BC 0)
0:00 — Hunter Trail 10 run. Jose Garcia-Anguiano kick good. (LHS 14, BC 7)
8:49 — Hough 4 run. Gellender kick good. (LHS 21, BC 7)
2:46 — Gellender 34 field goal. (LHS 24, BC 7)
1:03 — Trail 10 run. Garcia-Anguiano kick good. (LHS 24, BC 14)
5.8 — Tre’ Jackson 5 pass from Jackson Dooley. Kick no good. (LHS 30, BC 14)
11:45 — Bishop Carroll kickoff return for touchdown. Aiden Niedens 2-point run. (LHS 30, BC 22)
6:29 — Niedens 10 run. 2-point conversion failed. (LHS 30, BC 28)
6:19 — Hough 1 run. Gellender kick good. (LHS 37, BC 28)