Touchdown run, pick by Johnston seals win/Basehor routs BW, Pleasant Ridge falls at Horton

It's now Leavenworth's time to rule this rivalry.

The Pioneers' football team, having lost the last two contests against the Lansing Lions, defacto rivals in one breath, brothers in the next, found a way to take back the reigns in a football slugfest Friday night during the opening seeking of the prep football season.

Behind a stout defensive effort and a late touchdown run and interception by senior Devin Johnston, the Pioneers held on for a tense, 13-6 win to start the new campaign.

Leavenworth (1-0) won by coming up big when it counted and winning a physical battle.

“We knew we had to score (late) and Devin did a great job, reading his blocks and getting vertical,” LVHS head coach Mark Littrell said. “I am glad we scored, but I wish we could have done it four plays later and milked some time off the clock. 

“It’s the first we’ve won a game like this since 2014. Not since then have we played defense like that. We asked the kids to play 48 minutes and they played 48 minutes. They did a great job and never quit. Our defense stepped up time and time again. 1-0 is better than 0-1.”

Lansing was led by Tre Pledger in his first start at quarterback who finished 14-for-30 with 132 yards and 10 carries for 37 yards and Konner McQuillian who had four rushes for 26 yards and Calvin Thomas who had five catches for 51 yards and AJ Cooper who ended up with five catches for 45 yards. 

“It’s a typical week one football game,” Lansing head coach John McCall said. “We had penalties, they had penalties, it just wasn’t a clean game. Drop passes on both sides. It was really a pretty even game if you will as far as the flow went. The kids played hard. I was really proud of our defensive effort and our offensive effort, we just didn’t make that big play. We had plenty of opportunities too. Our kids are going to get better. They just needed to get a feel for what kind of focus and concentration it takes. 

“We need some explosive plays. When we get the opportunity for them, we just have to execute. We just need more yards and more points, because you aren’t going to win many games when you score six points.”

Robert McKinley went 9-for-19 at quarterback for LVHS throwing for 86 yards, Devin Johnston rushed 15 times for 102 yards and a score and Andrew Ativie made seven catches for 85 yards.

Both teams came out with a methodical approach and neither made a dent early, until Johnston broke free from a few attempted tackles and sprinted 70 yards for an apparent touchdown that was ultimately called back on a holding call to keep the game scoreless.

The game remained scoreless after the first 12 minutes, but Lansing created the game's first big opportunity on the second quarter's first snap when Konnor McQuillan recorded a sack that sprung the ball loose and his Lion teammate Eliott Wilk who ran it back to the Pioneer 21.

However, the Pioneer defense kept Lansing stuck in place and a 35-yard field goal attempt missed wide for the hosts to keep the game scoreless.

Leavenworth then answered with the game's first legitimate drive, going 80 yards between a sprinkle of passing and a dash of running and a whole lot of Ativie.

Finally, Hayes Edwards took the ball across off a quarterback snap on a plunge that gave LVHS a 7-0 lead with 7:13 left before halftime.

The host Lions decided that was not acceptable and the hosts did their own damage on a strong drive of their own.

Converting a fourth down along the way, McQuillan punched it in from two yards out with just :14.2 left before halftime. An errant snap on the PAT would keep LVHS ahead, 7-6, as the team's entered the break.

The second half was a lot of week one highs and lows, with a good play here and a head scratcher there as the scoreboard never flipped over the third set of 12 minutes.

Then came an intriguing fourth quarter.

Special teams issues haunted both squads but a pivotal one occurred with just under eight minutes left in the game as a fumbled snap led to a golden opportunity for LVHS, as they took over inside the Lansing 20.

The Lansing defense returned the favor, by denying the Pioneers a chance to build the lead, by stuffing the Pioneer attack on the precipice of the end zone. 

Yet, the Lions couldn't get out of their own territory and needing to get down field as time ticked away, they eschewed the punt and were turned over on downs inside their own 20 just north of the 2-minute mark.

Johnston would then scamper into the end zone on a 17-yard run on the next play. A botched extra point accounted for the final tally 

Lansing did make a nice effort to get down thinks to try and tie the game, but Johnston picked off a Pledger pass deep in Pioneer territory to help Leavenworth regain control of the series.

"It's a big win, we were the underdog coming in, everybody doubted us, some people in our school doubted us," Johnston said. "That was a war right there. We just finished and had big heart for each other and picked each other up.

"We just have to fix the little mistakes we made and finish the season with a big bang. I love intense games and I love the pressure. We just had to score (on that final drive). I have an awesome offensive line, best in the state in my opinion. It started with them. I didn't score. We scored. Lansing put up a good fight. I have some good friends over there. It was good sportsmanship both ways."

BASEHOR LINWOOD 72, Bishop Ward 0

Basehor-Linwood opened up the season at home with a 51-0 halftime lead and never looked back in a 72-0 rout over Bishop Ward, Friday night.

"These types of games are always tough," BLHS head coach Rod Stallbaumer said. "I was pleased that we were able to get a lot of young kids in the game and they played hard.  Every eligible player played.    "We made some mental mistakes early on with our varsity guys that we will need to clean up."   Horton 18, PLEASANT RiDGE 0 Horton returned the favor from last year's 36-0 defeat in Easton Friday night on the first weekend of prep football in 2017.   The visiting Pleasant Ridge Rams really couldn't get much going on the scoreboard, dropping an 18-0 defeat to kickoff the new season.   "We played hard, played solid defense, and moved the ball on offense just couldn't score," Pleasant Ridge head coach Patrick McCollim said. "We got inside their 10 twice and came up short.  Just couldn't get into a rhythm offensively. We did a poor job with field position all night, which I fully take the blame for and put our defense is some bad spots that they capitalized on."