Former Lawrence High stars put their spin on storied Baker-Benedictine rivalry
photo by: Submitted photo
Two former Lawrence High quarterback greats have circled back to one another as the college football season winds down.
Benedictine College’s Jackson Dooley (LHS ’21) and Baker University’s Truman Juelsgaard (LHS ’22), who both ended their high school careers under former head coach Steve Rampy and current head coach Clint Bowen, clashed two weeks ago in the same cold, wet conditions Kansas and then-No. 6 Oklahoma endured just 25 minutes down the road in Lawrence.
Dooley, Benedictine’s starting quarterback since Week 2, ran in the game’s first score before guiding the Ravens to a 30-6 victory over Juelsgaard and the Wildcats (7-2, 3-1 Heart of America Athletic Conference) in Baldwin City to keep Benedictine’s unbeaten conference record (8-2, 4-0 HAAC) alive.
The real prize for Dooley was finding Juelsgaard, as well as Baker starting safety Deshon Lewis (LHS ’19) and Lawrence High head baseball coach Brad Stoll, when the dust settled. The weeks leading up to the game shared the same hype they had received playing back home.
“We’ve both played quarterback most of our life,” Dooley said. “We had that winning culture at Lawrence High. You’re expected to win every game. We both went through that program so that’s naturally expected.”
Neither Dooley nor Juelsgaard — Journal-World All-Area selections coming out of high school — were slated for their respective quarterback jobs during the preseason.
Dooley, the Ravens’ third-string quarterback a year ago as a redshirt freshman, made his case for the starting job and won it after a strong performance in Week 1 in a close 20-17 loss to Morningside at home.
By committing to Benedictine nearly three years ago, Dooley fanned the flames of what’s been a storied rivalry between the two schools. Jackson’s father, Sean, has served as Baker’s head men’s basketball coach since 2012.
Ironically, Dooley found himself driving to Leavenworth just to watch his father coach the Wildcats to a 77-71 win at St. Mary’s on Wednesday night.
“My dad’s always said ‘You go where you’re wanted,'” Dooley said. “I felt more love from Benedictine’s side of recruiting. Baker had a lot of love … but I just felt Benedictine was the place for me and I could get away from being Coach Dooley’s son and be my own person here.
“One of the reasons I went to play at Benedictine was to go play at Baker. It was pretty surreal being out there and to play as well as we did, as a team, was pretty fun.”
For Juelsgaard, crossing over from defense to earn the quarterback gig as a true sophomore isn’t as easy of a task as it was during his senior season at LHS. Juelsgaard, spending his freshman year at backup safety, wowed first-year Baker head coach Miguel Regalado with his arm during the offseason.
Both Baker and Benedictine recruited Juelsgaard, but neither wanted him to be a quarterback.
Juelsgaard is now chasing a 2,000-yard passing season for the Wildcats, but he’s hanging on to his run-game habits that made him a danger for opponents back at LHS. Currently, Juelsgaard averages 5.3 yards per carry on 556 yards and three touchdowns running out of the pocket.
“I had no idea I’d get the opportunity to play quarterback (at Baker),” Juelsgaard said. “I knew if I was given that opportunity, I’d take full advantage of it. Who doesn’t want the ball in their hand?”
It seems Dooley and Juelsgaard will have the ball in their hands for the foreseeable future too, each retaining two more years of eligibility. Better yet, the pair will likely maintain their one phone call a week long after their football careers have passed.
Baker travels to Missouri Valley College (5-4, 2-2 HAAC) and Benedictine hosts MidAmerica Nazarene (8-2, 3-1 HAAC) on Saturday. Both regular-season finales are slated for 1 p.m. kickoffs.
photo by: Carter Gaskins
photo by: Chance Parker/Journal-World Photo