It appears Shawnee Mission East's reign as the best football program in the Shawnee Mission district is over.
Shawnee Mission Northwest scored touchdowns on five straight possessions in the second half to squash the Lancers 54-34 on Friday afternoon at SM South District Stadium. The Cougars are undefeated at the midway point of the regular season, while the other four Shawnee Mission schools all have at least two losses. It was the Cougars' first victory over the Lancers in 11 years.
"It's a really big win for us, and it's a big win for our football program, and it's a big win in the direction we want to move," said SM Northwest Head Coach Bo Black. "It sets up a few big games for us down the road. So I couldn't be prouder of our kids and the way that they played all night and a great team effort all around."
More importantly, Shawnee Mission Northwest (4-0/3-0) remains near the top of the Sunflower League behind only the Lawrence High Lions (4-0/4-0).
Cougars quarterback Ty Black completed 28-of-30 passes for 382 yards and three touchdowns. His favorite target, Ty Lindenman, caught 11 passes for 246 yards and three touchdowns.
"We're always trying to get better at a lot of the things that we do, and Ty Lindenman is just a special kid," said Black. "Anybody who asks, he's about as good a football player that I've ever been around. And he made play after play again tonight."
The lead changed hands three times in the first half. Black spotted a wide open Lindenman from midfield for a 51-yard touchdown and a 13-7 advantage in the first quarter. SM East scored on three-yard toss to Tony Friends, and the Lancers led 14-13. The Cougars' Braden Shaul ran it in from three yards out. The two-point conversion failed, and SM Northwest was back on top 19-14. Friends answered with another 3-yard TD run and gave the Lancers the halftime lead at 20-19.
The Cougars struck quickly in the third quarter. Black hit Lindenman and the senior receiver outran the Lancers for a 54-yard score. The successful two-point conversion pushed SM Northwest ahead for good 27-20. After the Cougars' defense forced a three-and-out, Lindenman took a hand-off and raced 55-yards down the sideline for a 33-20 lead. The Cougars forced another punt, and the Shaul scored his third touchdown of the day. The two-point conversion was good, and SM Northwest was suddenly in control 41-20. The Cougars scored two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Black connected with Lindenman, and the junior quarterback pushed the pile for a two-yard score.
"I think the biggest thing (in the second half) is we got a few stops defensively," said Black. "Our defense stepped up and played a little bit better in the second half."
Black has passed for 1,230 yards and 12 touchdowns in the first four games. Lindenman has been the biggest receiving threat on the Kansas side. He now has 35 receptions for 723 yards and nine touchdowns.
The Cougars will play for first-place in the Sunflower League next Friday night when they host Lawrence High. While SM East (1-3) will try to bounce back next week against SM South.