The only thing louder than the crowd right before the opening kickoff last night during the Leavenworth and Lansing High School football game was the statement the Pioneers made on the field during their 63-0 victory.
The district title, the winning record, the rivalry — it's theirs.
Leavenworth (5-4, 3-0) converted an early fumble from the Lions (4-5, 2-1) into six points just two minutes into the first quarter of Thursday night's game and the rest is, quite literally, history.
"It's huge, it's starting a legacy," Leavenworth senior wide receiver and cornerback Isaiah Ross said. "(This rivalry is) going to be intense, Lansing's a great team. ... We just came out — we got them tonight."
The win not only marked the first time that Leavenworth had played and beat Lansing High School, it also marked the first time in program history that the Pioneers came away with a district title, head coach Mark Littrell said.
Lansing High School head coach John McCall said the team's tendency to give the ball away in the first half was a big reason for the strong momentum shift in the Pioneers' favor. By the end of the night, the Lions had tallied five turnover, four of which came from fumbles.
"Ball security in the first half definitely added fuel to the fire," McCall said. "It was frustrating. They did an outstanding job and we didn't match execution with the opponent tonight."
But the blame can't be placed squarely on the slouched shoulders of the Lansing offense.
Ross said from the start of the game, the Pioneer defense made it their mission to ensure that the Lions didn't see their side of the scoreboard light up all game
The successful completion of that mission came mostly from the fact that the Lansing offense finished the night with only 118 total yards, the fewest yards Leavenworth has held any team to all season. The Lions averaged 2.5 yards a play, totaling 55 yards through the air and 63 yards on the ground, despite 37 rushing attempts by the end of the night.
While the Lion offense laid down, the Pioneer offense put on a show.
Leavenworth tallied 387 yards of total offense, 321 of which came on the ground — the Pioneers' second-straight game with over 300 rushing yards, as they rushed for 7 yards a carry as a team.
Senior running back Sanchez Williams, once again, topped the century mark with a 156-yard, three touchdown performance. Ross was second on the team in rushing yards with nine carries for 67 yards and a touchdown.
Staying true to recent tradition, Leavenworth threw the ball only three times the entire game — two of those passes went for touchdowns.
While also tallying an interception playing safety, senior quarterback Landry Hodges finished the night 2/2 for 40 yards and one touchdown caught by Ross. Junior jack-of-all-trades Drew Sachen threw a touchdown pass on a halfback pass during the first half, which found Ross in the back corner of the endzone.
Ross finished his night with two catches for 59 yards and two touchdowns.
Littrell said the proverbial game ball for the night goes to the senior class, nicknamed the "Dream 15," because of the focus and leadership they've provided all season leading up to the win and the district championship.
"They've been focused since the Olathe Northwest game," Littrell said. "This was all done because of the seniors, because of their leadership. They were just tuned in."
The bright side for the Lansing Lions is, despite no hardware in hand, the team still has a shot at redemption as they wait patiently to see who they play in the first round of the state playoffs.
Though McCall said he would like to head into the playoffs riding a victory, this week will be an excellent opportunity to see what his downtrodden squad is made of.
"It's tough," McCall said. "You want momentum going into the playoffs and we need our team to be very resilient right now. We've got a big week coming up and how we respond to something like this is going to show the character of not only the coaches, but the kids."
While the Lions are down, they're certainly not out.
Thursday night's game marked the first time the two schools have ever played each other in football, but it was also the beginning of what promises to be an emotionally-charged rivalry.
McCall said this loss will haunt his players for the entire offseason, but will provide fuel for the flames the newfound rivalry brings.
"It's a year from now, but obviously from our side this is going to be a night where it kind of leaves a bad taste in your mouth," McCall said. "Our returning kids will carry that into the offseason and next year."
Both Leavenworth and Lansing will find out their state playoff opponent this Saturday morning.
Until then, Littrell and his Pioneers plan to celebrate.