Lawrence High rocks Shawnee Heights, 53-0, in 2020 season opener
photo by: Mike Yoder
Although Shawnee Heights technically was Lawrence High football’s opponent in Friday’s season opener, the Lions’ 53-0 victory at LHS turned out to be a battle between the LHS offense and defense.
And it was nearly impossible to determine a winner.
Behind a stifling defense and an offense full of big plays, the Lions pounced on the Thunderbirds from the opening kickoff and never let up.
LHS (1-0) led 32-0 after one quarter and had recorded 350 yards of offense by halftime while holding the Thunderbirds to just 2 yards of total offense — 60 yards passing and -58 yards rushing — during the first two quarters.
“Our defense got after them pretty good early,” LHS coach Steve Rampy said. “Our defense is so fast. And they’re going to keep us in games this year.”
Even though the game quickly got out of hand — the teams agreed to play with a running clock in the second half — there was still drama at the end.
Shawnee Heights put together one of its best drives of the night and reached the LHS 10-yard line inside the final three minutes.
But just like in the first half, when the Thunderbirds started a drive at the LHS 19, the Lions’ defense stiffened to preserve the shutout.
It became official when junior Malique Morris-Ramirez roared through the middle on fourth-and-goal from the 20 to effectively end the game. Dylan Gillespie and Preston Greenwood also recorded sacks for the Lions in the first half.
Throughout the second half, which was played mostly by LHS’ second string, the starters could be heard cheering them on and talking about the shutout.
“Even though those guys weren’t going to play in the second half, we told them at halftime that it wasn’t going to be a circus on the sideline,” Rampy said.
Eleven of the Lions’ first 18 points came from the defense, with Corban Oberzan scoring the first touchdown of the season on a 16-yard interception return.
A pair of high snaps by the Shawnee Heights center also led to two LHS safeties in the game’s first 3:11.
The LHS offense was not about to let the defense steal the spotlight on opening night.
After finally getting on the field following a T-Birds free kick after the first safety, quarterback Jackson Dooley connected with Tre’ Jackson for a 62-yard touchdown on the Lions’ first offensive snap of the season.
Jackson got open behind the D but had to power step through a tackler near the 20-yard line to reach the end zone. Jackson dove for the corner of the end zone to tally the TD and LHS led 16-0 five minutes into the season.
In just a half, Dooley completed 10 of 14 passes for 199 yards and two touchdowns.
“He has really grown into that position,” Rampy said of his quarterback. “He’s got poise, courage and he throws it well.”
Dooley completed his first five passes of the night and looked to be in complete control throughout the night. With LHS leading 46-0 at halftime, Dooley gave way to junior backup Truman Juelsgaard in the second half.
Not to be outdone, senior tailback Devin Neal scored twice and racked up 189 yards of offense on just eight touches in the first half.
One was a 43-yard touchdown reception and another was a 45-yard TD run. On both scoring plays, along with others, Neal displayed the total package, showing off his speed, power and elusiveness.
“When you’ve got those kinds of guys, you’ve got to have chunk plays,” Rampy said. “And they delivered tonight.”
The Lions racked up 206 yards in the first quarter and held Heights to just nine yards and took a 32-0 lead into the second quarter.
LHS finished the game with 423 yards compared to just 21 yards of total offense for the Thunderbirds.
LHS will play host to Washburn Rural in Week 2.
LHS 53, SH 0
Shawnee Heights 0 0 0 0 — 0
Lawrence Hight 32 14 7 0 — 53
LHS Rushing: Devin Neal 6-138, Graham Hough 4-30, Jeremy Jacobsen 4-28, Josh King 1-13, Truman Juelsgaard 1-0.
LHS Passing: Jackson Dooley 10-for-14 for 199 yards and 2 touchdowns, Truman Juelsgaard 2-for-3 for 15 yards.
LHS Receiving: Ntense Obono 4-76, Tre’ Jackson 1-62, Devin Neal 2-51, John Green 2-9, Jaden Birmingham 1-6, Acen Villegas 1-1.
How they scored
11:05 – Corban Oberzan 16-yard interception return. Conner Gellender PAT. 7-0, LHS
10:17 – Lawrence High safety. 9-0, LHS.
10:04 – Tre’ Jackson 62-yard reception from Jackson Dooley. Gellender PAT. 16-0, LHS.
8:49 – Lawrence High safety. 18-0, LHS.
7:24 – Devin Neal 43-yard reception from Dooley. Gellender PAT. 25-0, LHS.
4:56 – Graham Hough 4-yard run. Gellender PAT. 32-0, LHS.
7:34 — Neal 17-yard run. Gellender PAT. 39-0, LHS.
:26 – Neal 45-yard run. Gellender PAT. 46-0, LHS.
9:05 – Jeremy Jacobsen 14-yard run. Gellender PAT. 53-0, LHS.