Lions can’t catch up with SMNW in 41-24 road loss

Lawrence High head coach Clint Bowen looks to get the attention of his defense during the first quarter on Friday, Sept. 17, 2021 at Lawrence High School. (Photo by Nick Krug/Special to the Journal-World)

Overland Park — Lawrence High couldn’t produce enough offensively against Shawnee Mission Northwest Friday night, dropping its second-straight road test, 41-24.

LHS (3-2) finished off the night with 227 yards of total offense, including 152 yards on the ground in the loss to the Cougars, which included a late-game ejection of Lions head coach Clint Bowen.

Bowen said after the loss he doesn’t think his group is playing up to the right standard right now.

“We can’t be in a battle back situation,” he said. “We have to be a good football team right now. We’re not playing as good as we can play.”

SMNW’s run game came out hot on its first drive, as the Cougars jumped out to a lead on a 20-yard touchdown rush midway through the first quarter.

Back-to-back sacks from the Lions’ defense set up an opportunity to settle the score before the end of the first quarter, but an interception thrown by LHS senior quarterback Truman Juelsgaard gave the ball back to the Cougars.

Into the second quarter, the Cougars’ backfield continued sneaking past LHS, setting up a quick 15-yard touchdown pass and extending the Cougars’ lead to 13-0.

LHS snapped back on the following drive, led by rushers Shance Wilkerson and Brayden Heck. In the red zone with 3:10 to play in the half, Juelsgaard connected with Zeric Avery for a 20-yard touchdown pass, and LHS cut the Cougars’ lead to four.

Avery keyed the Lions’ passing attack in the first half, bringing in three receptions for 42 yards while setting up crucial scoring opportunities for the Lions.

SMNW answered shortly after, pushing the Cougars further out in front, 20-7, on a massive 45-yard touchdown rush.

“Poor fundamental football showed up for us,” Bowen said. “We did not block very well, we clearly did not tackle very well. They have a really good player that made us miss several tackles and made us lose edges.”

Taking advantage of one last drive before the half, Wilkerson led the Lions up the field to set up a quick 30-yard field goal from Grant Glasgow. LHS trailed SM Northwest 20-10 heading into the locker room.

SMNW opened the second half roaring through the air, completing a 40-yard pass to place the Cougars in LHS territory on the first play of the third quarter.

Cougar rusher Malik O’Atis added to his busy night, punching in a quick goal line touchdown, making it a 27-10 SMNW lead.

LHS began more consistently finding traction behind senior Wilkerson late in the first half and chose the same route to start the second.

Wilkerson returned to the backfield Friday after an early-season injury.

“Having Shance was a positive,” Bowen said. “He came in, found some holes, showed some good vision and came through on some nice runs. It was a nice comeback game for him and I was happy to see him go out and perform.”

Faced with third-and-long midway through the third quarter, the LHS offensive line couldn’t make space for Juelsgaard and gave up a tough sack on the first drive of the second half.

The Lions’ defense followed up the drive with a stop of its own, putting pressure on Cougars quarterback Blake Reeder, forcing a punt after a sack from junior Lance Bassett.

Wilkerson caught steam after the stop for LHS, posting the Lions’ second score of the night. The senior Lion’s 23-yard touchdown provided a much-needed boost late in the third quarter.

Despite a quick turnaround score from SMNW, LHS caught some momentum with a 55-yard reception from senior Kivryn Heck. The following play, Baylor Bowen hauled in a 22-yard touchdown pass to bring the score back within 10. The Lions trailed the Cougars 34-24 with a little more than 10 minutes to play in the game.

Still trying to hang on, the LHS defense couldn’t get to SMNW’s Reeder, surrendering a potential game-swinging touchdown pass midway through the fourth quarter. The Cougars extended their lead, taking control, 41-24, with 7:31 to play.

LHS showed some life on the next drive, as Juelsgaard connected with Nelson to place the Lions in SMNW territory. Despite the pickup, Juelsgaard soon found himself under pressure and threw his second interception of the evening.

After the play, a late altercation between LHS head coach Clint Bowen and officials led to the coach being ejected from the game late in the fourth quarter.

SMNW ate up the remainder of the clock, preventing LHS from getting one last offensive drive.

Bowen hopes this loss catches his group’s attention heading into next week.

“I hope it wakes our guys up enough that they started to realize the importance of every single day,” the LHS coach said. “I don’t care who you’re playing. This is a game about heart and determination.”


Lawrence High 0 10 7 7 – 24

Shawnee Mission Northwest 7 13 14 7 – 41


1st Quarter:

05:37 – SMNW touchdown: O’Atis 20 run. Glaser kick is good. (LHS 0, SMNW 7)

2nd Quarter:

06:34 – SMNW touchdown: Rogers 15 pass from Reeder. 2-point conversion no good. (LHS 0, SMNW 13)

03:10 – LHS touchdown: Avery 20 pass from Juelsgaard. Glasgow kick is good. (LHS 7, SMNW 13)

02:08 – SMNW touchdown: O’Atis 45 run. Glaser kick is good. (LHS 7, SMNW 20)

0:13 – LHS field goal: Glasgow 30-yard kick is good. (LHS 10, SMNW 20)

3rd Quarter:

09:43 – SMNW touchdown: O’Atis 1 run. Glaser kick is good. (LHS 10, SMNW 27)

03:51 – LHS touchdown: Wilkerson 23 yard run. Glasgow kick is good. (LHS 17, SMNW 27)

0:07 – SMNW touchdown: O’Atis 3 run. Glaser kick is good. (LHS 17, SMNW 34)

4th Quarter:

11:13 – LHS touchdown: Bowen 23 pass from Juelsgaard. Glasgow kick is good. (LHS 24, SMNW 34)

7:54 – SMNW touchdown: O’Atis 23 pass from Reeder. Glaser kick is good. (LHS 24, SMNW 41)


SM Northwest 41, Lawrence 24


First downs 12 | 14

Rushing yards 152 | 207

Passing yards 75 | 160

Total-offense 227 | 367

Fumbles-lost 0 | 0

Interceptions 2 | 0

Penalties-yards 75 | 36

Individuals Statistics:


LHS: Shance Wilkerson 14-111, Brayden Heck 3-15, Avion Nelson 7-16, Truman Juelsgaard 5-11,

MVHS: Mikah Scott 5-24, Malik O’Atis 18-160, Jack Meylan 2-13, Blake Reeder 7-10


LHS: Truman Juelsgaard 6-13, 75

MVHS: Blake Reeder 9-13, 160


LHS: Baylor Bowen 2-42, Kivryn Heck 1-55, Zeric Avery 3-42, Avion Nelson 1-11

MVHS: Jack Meylan 2-79, Seth Cunningham 1-13, Alex Rogers 2-41, William Flickinger 1-7, Jaylen Anderson 2-12, Malik O’Atis 3-52


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