Team effort: Lions get everybody involved in 66-6 playoff win over Wichita North
photo by: Nick Krug
The public address system at the stadium wasn’t working for much of the first two drives of Lawrence High’s playoff matchup against Wichita North, but it came back on just before Lawrence High senior running back Devin Neal scored the first touchdown of the contest.
That was about the only drama of the night.
Lawrence rolled to a 66-6 victory over Wichita North in the opening round of the Class 6A postseason on Friday at LHS. The Lions, who are the top seed in Class 6A West, will advance to the regional round for the second year in a row.
So what can Lawrence (8-0, No. 1 in Class 6A) take from a game as lopsided as that final score would indicate?
“We got everybody in the game,” LHS head coach Steve Rampy said. “That’s it. We wanted to make sure everybody got in and nobody got hurt, and we didn’t.”
The PA announcer got to call plenty of new names by the end of the night on Friday. Many of the key starters were out of the game before the end of the first quarter, and Lawrence emptied its bench with a running clock in the second half.
“It was amazing,” said senior running back Jeremy Jacobsen, who scored two touchdowns. “I saw some people that I haven’t seen play in an actual varsity game. I was just happy for them.”
The Redskins (0-7) have now lost 23 games in a row during a stretch that dates back to the 2018 season.
A team with state title aspirations like LHS is supposed to take care of business in a matchup like this. And that was the case from the start, especially when the Lions utilized their starting units on both sides of the ball.
Wichita North, which scored a total of 2 points in the regular season, had a three-and-out on the opening drive of the game. Junior defensive back Truman Juelsgaard delivered a big hit to force an incomplete pass on the first play of the game, while junior linebacker Evan Bannister recorded a tackle-for-loss on the next snap.
After a 9-yard punt by the visitors, Lawrence scored on its first offensive drive. Neal carried the ball three times on that trip, capping it off with a 3-yard touchdown run with 9:15 to go in the first quarter. The KU commitment didn’t have a rushing attempt for the rest of the night.
“The (starters) played with our intensity,” Rampy said. “Our defense didn’t give up a first down. We executed pretty well. We are pretty pleased. Any time you don’t punt, that’s pretty good.”
The Lions were just as dominant the rest of the way, too. Wichita North fumbled five times in the first half, and four of those were recovered by LHS. Senior Corban Oberzan tallied a takeaway of his own on an interception.
Lawrence also recorded two safeties as a team and managed to force one turnover on downs over the course of Wichita North’s nine first-half drives. All of that led to a 60-0 advantage for the hosts at the intermission.
Senior linebacker Cole Mondi forced the first fumble, which was recovered by senior linebacker Karson Green. Senior linebacker Preston Greenwood also recovered a fumble on Wichita North’s fourth offensive possession.
In the second quarter, senior Demetri Green and junior Zeric Avery each tallied a fumble recovery. Senior Conner Liakos notched a sack on fourth down on the Redskins’ final drive of the first half.
On the offensive side, the Lions scored every time they had the ball in the first half.
Senior quarterback Jackson Dooley delivered a 34-yard touchdown strike to senior receiver John Green on Lawrence’s second offensive possession. Moments later, senior Kallun Chitama took a 63-yard kick to the house following a safety forced by Karson Green.
Graham Hough, a speedy senior running back, registered a pair of touchdown runs for Lawrence. Juelsgaard, the backup quarterback, connected on two touchdown passes in the second period. The first one went to senior receiver Ben King on an 11-yard hookup, while the second score was a 20-yard screen pass to Jacobsen.
Jacobsen added a score on the ground, punching it in for a 2-yard touchdown run. He said that those two touchdowns were the second and the third of his four-year career at LHS.
“It was cool to do it with all my friends,” Jacobsen said. “They were all hyping me up, and it was just fun.”
Wichita North didn’t record a first down on its own — at least without needing a penalty by LHS — until the 3:34 mark in the second quarter. But the Redskins did ultimately score their first touchdown of the season on a 43-yard run by sophomore quarterback Jacob Wassall late in the game.
“I told the guys at halftime that the best thing that could happen tonight was if Wichita North scored a touchdown,” Rampy said. “To watch that guy run down the sideline, and to see their sideline reaction to it, it makes what we are doing here all worthwhile.”
The Lions will turn their attention to the regional round now, which is where they were eliminated by Topeka High a season ago.
Lawrence will host Dodge City, the No. 9 seed in Class 6A West, next week at 7 p.m. Friday. Dodge City (4-5) earned a 39-0 win over No. 8 Topeka High in the opening round of the postseason.
Lawrence 66, Wichita North 6
LHS | WN
First downs 11 | 3
Rushes-yards 24-165 | 26-45
Passing yards 154 | 5
Total offense 319 | 50
Fumbles-lost 0-0 | 5-4
Interceptions 1 | 1
Penalties-yards 7-75 | 3-30
Score by quarters
Wichita N 0 0 0 6 — 6
Lawrence 37 23 6 0 — 66
(Note: Some individual statistics are missing due to players not being on the official roster)
WN: Jacob Wassall 6-44, Michael Bailey 1-(minus 1), Derek Schmidt 12-33, Cruz Alvarado 2-1, Dmarjion Henley 1-1. Sacks: 4-(minus 33).
LHS: Devin Neal 3-47, Graham Hough 4-40, Jeremy Jacobsen 2-2, Sam Sedo 1-10, Josh King 3-13, Jaylon Didde 8-31. Sacks: 1-(minus 5).
WN: Jacob Wassall 3-for-7 for 5 yards.
LHS: Jackson Dooley 1-for-1 for 34 yards; Truman Juelsgaard 9-for-14 for 120 yards.
WN: Dmarjion Henley 1-(minus 3), Michael Bailey 2-8.
LHS: Ben King 1-11, Graham Hough 1-25, John Green 1-34, Ntense Obono 1-2, Sam Sedo 3-35, Jeremy Jacobsen 1-20, Josh King 1-26, Jaylon Didde 1-1.
HOW THEY SCORED
9:15 — Devin Neal 3 run. Connor Gellender kick good. (LHS 7, WN 0)
8:27 — John Green 34 pass from Jackson Dooley. Gellender kick good. (LHS 14, WN 0)
6:50 — Safety forced by Lawrence High. (LHS 16, WN 0)
6:40 — Kallun Chitama 63 kickoff return. Gellender kick good. (LHS 23, WN 0)
5:20 — Graham Hough 3 run. Gellender kick good. (LHS 30, WN 0)
1:18 — Hough 26 run. Gellender kick good. (LHS 37, WN 0)
11:12 — Safety forced by Lawrence High. (LHS 39, WN 0)
10:15 — Ben King 11 pass from Truman Juelsgaard. Gellender kick good. (LHS 46, WN 0)
8:41 — Jeremy Jacobsen 20 pass from Juelsgaard. Gellender kick good. (LHS 53, WN 0)
5:09 — Jacobsen 2 run. Gellender kick good. (LHS 60, WN 0)
8:33 — Josh King 26 pass from LHS quarterback No. 13. Kick blocked. (LHS 66, WN 0)
8:30 — Jacob Wassall 43 run. Two-point conversion failed. (LHS 66, WN 6)