Sideline Pass: Jim Bradford 12/12
By Jim Bradford PrepsKC Senior Writer
A season cannot be defined by the result of one game. It’s as simple as that.
A season is defined by a collection of games, practices, adventures and team-bonding adventures over the course of nine, 10, 11, 12 and even 13 games — if you’re lucky.
In the case of the Shawnee Mission East Lancers, the 2013 season was definitely a success, despite losing the state championship game 28-21 on Saturday.
One loss does not define a season, but if you’re lucky, one season can define a program. And what the Lancers faithful saw on Saturday was not the culmination, but most likely the beginning of something special over on Mission Road.
“I couldn’t be more proud of these kids,” SM East head coach Dustin Delaney said. “The team we are, I love,”
Yep, it’s a simple as that.
“I appreciate the kids so much,” he added. “We have such a great bunch of kids.; the best around.
“It’s hard when you walk off the field as a loser in that last game, but we can hold our heads high because we played our butts off all year.”
Three months ago, no one gave these Lancers much of a chance to do much of anything this year. They were opening up the season with a new head coach, a slew of new starters on a team that was unveiling a completely new offensive scheme.
Not just a new one, but one that was the polar opposite of the high-flying, toss-it-all-over-the-field style under Chip Sherman in the previous few years.
The critics were quickly silenced when the Lancers started the season 5-0. Their lone loss of the year in week 6 didn’t seem to stop the momentum. The bandwagon got pretty full when they bulldozed their way to the state title game with wins over Leavenworth, Olathe East and Olathe North.
And the Lancer faithful didn’t get down at all when the Lancers found themselves down 14-0 in Topeka on Saturday.
“We don’t get down,” Delaney said. “We keep doing what we need to do and keep working hard to get back in the game.”
The Lancers amassed 300 yards of offense against Derby in their seven-point loss, and held the potent Panther attack to just 251 yards of offense, battling back to tie the game at 14 and 21.
Saturday’s game might just have been a microcosm for what lies ahead for the Lancers. They may get down, but they’ll get back up.
“It’s unbelievable,” Delaney said about what his team was able to do this year. “Our kids see the rewards of teamwork, hard work and playing hard.
“When you get a chance to get to the state championship game, it’s a heck of a run.”
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