After Lansing high school head football coach John McCall stepped away from his post-game speech, senior lineman Scott Hattok took his place.
Following the Lions 13-0 loss to Basehor-Linwood High School Friday night, Hattok had a simple message for his team — either shape up, or ship out.
“It’s all mental,” Hattok said. “Personally I think, and I think the coaches are with me, that it starts in practice. I don’t think we, I mean myself, we don’t give our 100 in practice.
"We come out and say ‘Hey, it’s just another practice.’ But that’s not the mentality we need to have. From here on out, we’re going to give 110 every day no matter what. It’s game day every day, that’s the new philosophy.”
Despite a stellar day from the Lion defense, allowing 283 yards of total offense from the Bobcats while tallying three sacks and a turnover, Lansing's offensive production was minimal.
The Lions totaled 226 yards of total offense, and two trips to the redzone both ended in Bobcat stops.
After the team's loss to Piper High School last Friday was marred with offensive penalties and special teams mistakes, McCall said it was more of the same for the Lions this week — and it has to end.
“We’re making too many mistakes,” McCall said. “I’m confident that our kids will get this corrected. Obviously I want it corrected right now, I wanted it corrected this week. And as we all saw, it did not get corrected this week. … We will not be successful if we look like that every single week.”
That's not to say the Lion offense didn't see any success Friday night.
Junior running back Dewaun Wilkes ran the ball 18 times for 74 yards, and senior quarterback Krystian Abbott was 9-18 for 160 yards.
Yet the offense's success was hindered significantly by the mental mistakes the Lions committed throughout the contest.
Late in the fourth quarter, with the Lions on the goal line, a potentially game-changing moment for the offense was instead marked with a false start and a five-yard penalty.
“We came in knowing what we were doing,” Hattok said. “You have to score. 13-0 is a winnable ballgame, no doubt. You just have to score. It’s offensive execution, that’s what we need to work at.”
McCall agreed, and said any football game marked with the mistakes the Lions made Friday night is bound to end up in the loss column.
“I thought Dewuan ran the ball very nicely tonight,” McCall said. “Execution’s the big thing with offense. Whenever you break down in execution, you’re usually going to give the defense an advantage, and I just thought that we gave them an advantage on too many stats tonight.”
Defensively, McCall said his team was right where they need to be.
The Bobcats entered the game with a new offensive system, a shotgun flex-bone offense that demands discipline and quick thinking of any defense trying to stop it.
While not a hard defense to plan for, putting the plan into action is another animal entirely, McCall said.
“It’s not that it’s something you scheme for, anybody’s defense is set up to do it,” McCall said. “It’s just a matter if your kids can come out and execute it or not. Because it is a very difficult offense to stop, there’s no question.”
But execution was the name of the game for the Lions defense Friday night.
And now that the loss is behind Lansing and they're looking toward next week's homecoming game against Tonganoxie High School, McCall said he expects it to stay that way.
“We saw them this summer in 7-on-7, they’ve got a nice group of kids,” McCall said. “They’re very well coached and they’ll be prepared. … We’re satisfied defensively, we can always do better defensively but our big focus has really gotta be point production. Last week we scored twice, this week we didn’t score at all and that’s pretty alarming, to be honest.”