Lathrop shuts out rival Lawson
By Ian Stanford Special to PrepsKC
Lathrop’s magical season will live at least another game. The Mule rushing attack ran for 351 yards as Lathrop shut out Lawson 24-0 in the second round of the Class 2 playoffs Wednesday. Lathrop will next travel to St. Joe to play LeBlond Monday.
Senior phenom Tyson May haunted the Lawson defense all Halloween night, dashing and stutter-stepping for both of Lathrop’s offensive touchdowns on long break-away runs off right tackle.
He ran for 245 yards on a season-high 26 carries. The defense added another score late on a pick six.
“Our plan for May was to tackle him, and we didn’t,” said Lawson coach Todd Dunn. “That kid is a good one. He gets his foot in the ground quicker than any player I’ve seen.”
The Mules’ offensive M.O. was to run May right, his brother Robert Askren left, and occasionally mix it up with Josh Hartzell up the middle. The plan worked, especially when May’s number was called.
“That’s basically what we do is run a lot of counter stuff,” said Lathrop coach Mike Thompson. “We usually distribute it more evenly, but tonight we basically rode the pony and they couldn’t stop him.”
May opened the scoring on a 48-yard right off-tackle run on Lathrop’s first drive. On Lawson’s first drive, DE/QB Brandon Maddick sacked his QB counterpart on fourth and long to force a turnover on downs.
After the teams exchanged three and outs, Lawson had a golden chance to seize momentum midway through the second quarter. After stripping Robert Askren to prevent Lathrop from taking a two-score lead, the Cardinals quickly reversed the field on a couple long runs by Ty Cox.
But once they made it to the 5-yard line, the Cardinals started going the wrong direction. Two touchdown runs were called back on holding and illegal hands to the face penalties. After a sack and another penalty the Cardinals faced a fourth and goal from the 30-yard line. Blake Edwards’ end zone pass was broken up.
“That was a big momentum shifter,” said Coach Dunn. “We were right down there, then got all those penalty flags. We’re not making any excuses though.”
The defensive stand by Lathrop kept them in the driver’s seat. The Mules were able to drive down the field and kick a short field goal to go up 10-0 with four seconds left in the half.
The game unraveled quickly for Lawson in the second half. On their first play from scrimmage, RB Dylan Cordova fumbled it back to Lathrop. On their second drive, they had to punt after a quick three and out.
After combining for 118 yards on the ground in the first half, Cardinal running backs gained just 16 in the second half.
Meanwhile, Tyson May and the Mule offense kept churning. On Lathrop’s third drive of the second half, May broke another long TD run, this one from 53 yards. The score made it 17-0.
“My offensive line does it every week, it doesn’t matter who we’re playing,” said May. “They break open the holes and I find them.”
Lathrop’s victory was their second over Lawson this year. Before that, Lathrop hadn’t beaten their rival since 1998, the year they made it to the Class 2 semi-finals.
“It’s a really big deal,” said May. “It means so much for the town, and so much to me that I can help bring this to the town.”
The Mules’ turnaround this year has been drastic. They’re just two years removed from being an 0-10 laughingstock. Last year, they were 4-5, but still lost to Lawson by multiple scores.
May and Thompson have been the difference makers. May is a senior, but this is his first season on the team since his freshman year. Thompson is in his second season as head coach.
The Mules will travel to LeBlond for a 7 p.m. kickoff Monday.
“They’ve got a big man-sized kid that they like to run,” said Coach Thompson. “But we’ve matched up well against big guys this year.”
LeBlond advanced with a 20-12 win over Brookfield Wednesday.
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