East faces first adversity
By Jim Bradford PrepsKC Senior Writer
Shawnee Mission East hasn’t faced a whole lot of adversity his season.
They got a taste Friday night in a Class 6A regional matchup with Lawrence — and passed with flying colors.
The Lancers held the Lions on a fourth-and-goal at the 1-yard line just before halftime and then ran away with the game in the second half, advancing to next week’s sectional final against SM West with a 35-7 win over the Lions.
The Lancers led by 14 at the time of the defensive stop and instead of going into the locker room up by seven, they were up 21-7 and never looked back.
“That was really a big play,” East head coach Dustin Delaney said. “That really changed the momentum.”
The play pretty much dashed any hopes that the Lions had for an upset of the no. 1 team in the state. The Lancers took the opening kickoff of the second half in for a score and it was all but over from that point.
“That was huge,” East linebacker Kyle Ball said. “We really hadn’t faced a whole lot of adversity this season so we had to really dig deep. We had to just keep our heads up, do our keys and play hard.
“We never give up out there and that gave us the energy we needed and showed some toughness.”
Wyatt Edmisten led the way on the ground for the Lancers. He had 27 carries for 147 yards and two touchdowns. Jackson Gossick added 122 yards on nine carries and one touchdown. Sam Huffman added 72 yards on seven carries and a pair of scores.
Huffman scored on a 29-yard run with 8:43 left in the third quarter and Edmisten capped the scoring on the night when he scored on a 30-yard run with about three minutes left in the third quarter.
The Lancers wore the Lions out in the first half, running a no huddle offense for the first two quarters. Once they built their lead, they dialed it back and slowed the tempo down a touch.
“We didn’t play that well defensively for a lot of the first half, but I am really proud of the way they responded,” Delaney said. “Lawrence is a heck of a football team.”
The Lions got on the board first, taking a 7-0 lead on a nifty 36-yard run by JD Woods on the opening drive. After Alan Clothier was dropped for a two-yard loss, Woods popped the long touchdown run to put Lawrence up 7-0 after the conversion, capping a nine-play, 80-yard drive.
Suddenly, the Lancers were tailing for the first time all season.
They didn’t trail long, though.
The Lancers answered with a long drive of their own, going 63 yards in 13 plays as Jackson Gossick went in from three yards out to tie the game after the conversion.
The deficit must have ticked the Lancers off as they then reeled off a couple more touchdowns to go up 21-7.
Edmisten scored on a 1-yard run just two minutes into the second quarter and then capitalized on a short field — the heels of a Lawrence punt that went all of eight yards — when Huffman scored on a four-yard run.
After the defensive stand, the Lancers were able to walk into the locker room with the 14-point lead.
Both teams made a living on the ground in the first half. Woods had 98 yards for Lawrence as they went for 158 yards on 29 carries. East had 175 yards on 33 carries. Neither team completed a pass and Lawrence only attempted one.
Woods, the Sunflower League’s leading rusher, led all rushers with 165 yards on 28 carries. The Lions finished with 237 yards of offense on the ground and 12 yards through the air.
East finished with 409 yards of total offense — all on the ground.
East moves on to play SM West in the sectional round of the Class 6A playoffs. The Vikings knocked off Olathe South 26-20 in first round action Friday night.
In other Class 6A action, Olathe North beat SM North 68-20 and advances to play Blue Valley, a 48-7 winner over SM South.
Lawrence ends their season with a 5-5 record.
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