It’s not too often in sports when both teams leave the field with a positive result. But that’s what happened Friday in Kansas City, Kan. after Wyandotte beat Leavenworth 38-28.
While Leavenworth wasn’t the team cranking up the stereo in the locker room, they nevertheless were satisfied with the news delivered by athletic director Shawn Terry after the game.
Leavenworth will advance to the playoffs for just the second time in the last 34 years.
What’s more, it was Jason Randall’s score late in the fourth quarter that got them there.
That score, which put the Pioneers down by 10 in the game, put them ahead of Lawrence for the final playoff spot by a mere two points.
The Pioneers will play at Shawnee Mission East on Friday.
“It’s pretty exciting to go to the playoffs,” senior linebacker Jared Donnelson said.
“It means a lot [for the community],” said Donnelson’s twin, senior defensive end Jordan Donnelson. “We’re definitely becoming a football community again, and hopefully we can make the town and school proud [next week].”
Lawrence came into Friday’s game up seven over Leavenworth in the point tiebreaker.
The Pioneers hoped to beat Wyandotte and take the spot outright, but since both teams lost, Leavenworth’s 10-point defeat put them one point better than Lawrence, who lost 28-10 to Free State.
If they had tied in points, Leavenworth would’ve advanced because of their head-to-head win two weeks ago, which is why they made it by two points instead of one.
But the celebration is sure to be short-lived, as Leavenworth will prepare to face an offense more dangerous than the one that thrashed them for much of the night Friday.
Wyandotte’s standout senior quarterback Dominic Mckinzy was rarely stopped, and when he was, it was often with the yellow flag working in Leavenworth’s favor.
Wyandotte marched to a 30-14 lead by the end of the third quarter.
The Bulldogs lined up in four and five-receiver sets and mixed deep routes with snap throws at the line of scrimmage.
The University of Minnesota commit Mckinzy also used his legs when he needed to.
“There wasn’t one thing they did that we hadn’t seen on the film,” said Leavenworth head coach Mark Littrell. “So we’ve got to do better, on both sides of the ball.”
As many points as the typically staunch defense gave up, it was inconsistent offense again that cost Leavenworth most.
Similar to last week against Free State, the Pioneers started well with their power running game and the Sunflower League’s leading rusher Jason Randall.
Randall matched Wyandotte’s output with two scores and lots of yards in the first quarter.
Page 2 of 2 - But the passing game hasn’t proven consistent enough to keep defensive backs for an entire game.
Once they hone in on the run, Randall’s gaps start getting very narrow. The slew of holding calls made matters worse.
Leavenworth rushed for 104 yards, most of them on carries by Randall. They passed for 153 yards.
Special teams also lost an onside kick, but Leavenworth was plus one in turnovers on the night.
The passing game was able to come on late with two fourth-quarter scores.
Down 16, quarterback Landry Hodges started connecting with his primary weapons, Randall and Isaiah Ross.
Leavenworth scored on back-to-back drives, on a pass to Ross and then a screen to Randall.
Their second two-point conversion attempt failed, keeping it a two-possession game.
A failed onside kick ended hope of coming back in the game. But unbeknownst to the players at the time, Randall’s touchdown won them the bigger prize – a date with the Lancers next week.