After six weeks Leavenworth is 2-4, but that can almost be thrown out with district play starting this week.
“It’s the first game of the season and we’ve had six weeks of preparation,” said head coach Mark Littrell.
So far the Pioneers have used the time to learn Littrell’s system and get ready for this time of the year.
“As far as knowing our system and knowing what we need and our expectations, yeah they are there,” Littrell said. “We’ve just got to quit making mistakes.”
That’s why the Pioneers lost 31-13 at Olathe East last week. It was a closer game than the score indicates, but Leavenworth had numerous penalties and allowed East to convert on trick plays.
Littrell said holding penalties was an issue because of technique.
“We’ve got to do a better job with our linemen and our receivers when they are blocking to move their feet and not just standing still and getting their arms swung out and grabbing jerseys,” he said.
The Pioneers host the 2-4 Lawrence Lions, but they have won two of their last three games.
“They’ve got a good defense, but we are capable of blocking them and moving the ball on them,” Littrell said.
Leavenworth has moved the ball on the ground pretty much all year with Jason Randall and some with receiver Isaiah Ross.
The Lions do the same with their power running game.
“They are more power and they are going to run it at you with counter,” Littrell said.
Resilience may be what the Pioneers will need in this game, and Littrell said even the opposition has commented on how hard Leavenworth has played this year.
“The last two or three weeks, opposing coaches are saying, ‘Those kids don’t quit and they keep playing hard. We haven’t seen that before,’” Littrell said. “I go, ‘Well, that’s what we are trying to do.’”
Friday’s game is senior night with the final two district games being at Lawrence Free State and Wyandotte.