Lions ready to do whatever it takes in 2022 postseason opener vs. Wichita Heights

photo by: Emma Pravecek/Journal-World photo

Lawrence High tight end Cole Watson (8) and offensive tackle Will Hendricks (74) look to the sidelines during the game against Shawnee Mission West on Friday, Oct. 21, 2022.

The Lawrence High football team closed out its regular season in style last week with a 56-20 win over Shawnee Mission West and the Lions now have their sights set on making a deep run in the Class 6A state playoffs for the second year in a row.

Last season, the Lions reached the Class 6A semifinals for the first time since 2005. This year, their journey begins Friday at home against Wichita Heights.

Checking in at No. 7 in the west bracket, the Lions (5-3) enter the playoffs with some extra fire after dropping consecutive losses late in the season. LHS coach Clint Bowen said his group still has a lot to prove and isn’t cutting corners anymore.

“This is when stuff really gets fun,” Bowen said. “It’s that time when it’s win or go home and you’ve gotta put it all on the line. This is what we prepare all year for.”

The 10th-seeded Falcons come to town off a pair of losses, including a grueling 28-26 loss against Bishop Carroll. Heights’ offense features senior tailback John Randle Jr., the son of former Kansas running back John Randle, and speedy senior quarterback D.J. Dingle.

Bowen said the Wichita Heights has serious athleticism on both sides of the ball and he knows his team will have to stay disciplined in all phases of the game.

“The scouting report becomes a lot bigger of a factor once you hit the playoffs,” Bowen said. “You’re going to, truly, start doing things to where if you need to get outside of your base scheme to stop plays, you’re going to start scheming and get out at your comfort zone. Whatever adjustments and maneuvers you’re going to have to make, you’re going to have to make them when you hit the playoff hunt because there’s no more margin of error.”

During its last two outings, LHS took advantage of its depth, as well. In the City Showdown against Free State and the regular season finale, Bowen rotated quarterbacks Tyson Grammer and Banks Bowen. Senior defensive end Lance Bassett also saw his role change, shifting from defensive end to middle linebacker in Week 8.

Bowen anticipates rotating whichever quarterback is “working better” in this one and he isn’t worried about having to move players around, defensively, to get the job done on Friday.

Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. at LHS.


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