Entering Friday’s matchup with Leavenworth, Lansing head coach Dylan Brown felt like the Lions had played better than their 1-3 record indicated. He felt like the team had not been outmatched in their losses. Self-inflicted mistakes cost the team a chance to win. He said the team just needed to play how they are supposed to and with high effort.
For the most part, the Lions did just that in their 49-19 dominating win over rival Leavenworth.
Early on, Lansing turned the ball over twice and it looked like the same issues that hurt the team all year would continue, but then the defense kept the Pioneers out of the end zone.
“Defense held strong,” Brown said. “We started off doing the same old thing, we drove and had a couple of fumbles. Our defense held up great, especially with that talented running back (Ja’Hawn Byrd) to keep him out of the end zone. It was incredible.”
Brown credits the success of the defensive stand on the “Lion Pride” drill from practice. Each day the ball is placed on the three-yard line and the offense tries to score while the defense tries to stop them.
“Our defense takes that to heart,” Brown said. “We are on the goal line and are all yelling ‘Lion Pride’ and you saw the effects of that (Friday) and finally our offense was able to catch up and get rolling a little bit.”
The offense did get rolling. Konner McQuillan ran for 216 yards and four touchdowns with Derrick Robinson and Dylan McLain adding two more touchdowns and 171 more yards on the ground to help the Lions rack up 438 yards on the night.
Pioneers head coach Mark Littrell said not scoring off of the turnovers hurt the Pioneers and gave the Lions momentum.
“We had our chances,” Littrell said. “We had every opportunity to go up 14-0 on them. Two turnovers like that, not to say they would turn it over the second time, but we had it down inside the five. You got to punch it in. You can’t take plays off.”
The Pioneers also suffered a blow when Byrd left the game due to injury in the third quarter. Byrd was replaced by sophomore Keenan Brown. Littrell had high praise for the effort he has given during the season behind Byrd. Brown would score from six yards out after the injury to put the Pioneers on the board.
Littrell said on Monday that Byrd has a concussion and will be out at least two weeks, possibly the remainder of the season.
The Lions improved to 2-3 on the season and return home Friday for homecoming against 0-5 Harmon. The Pioneers fell to 1-4 and will travel to 3-2 Shawnee Heights.
The Basehor-Linwood Bobcats improved to 4-1 after their 53-6 homecoming victory over Turner.
The Bobcats took advantage of four turnovers by the Golden Bears and a strong defensive performance to achieve the victory.
Head coach Rod Stallbaumer felt like the team gave a good performance, but still has work to do before their next game.
“I felt like it was a solid performance,” Stallbaumer said. “We made plenty of mistakes that we will need to correct, but for the most part, I felt like our focus was there early and our starters took care of business. It was nice to get a lot of playing time for our younger guys and I felt like they played hard during their time. We must continue to improve and have a very tough game on the road against De Soto next week.”
De Soto is 5-0, including victories over Leavenworth, Lansing and Turner from the United Kansas Conference.
The Pleasant Ridge Rams suffered a heartbreaking loss to Nemaha Central in the game played at the University of Saint Mary. The Thunder scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter and got the two-point conversion to pull off the 29-28 victory.
The Rams finished with 319 yards on offense with Colton Comer scoring three of the Rams’ four touchdowns.
Head coach Pat McCollim said the team played strong in the loss.
“The kids played their butts off tonight and deserved a win,” McCollim said. “They did everything we asked of them and more, showed heart, discipline, poise and focus all game, which are the things we focus on in our program.”
McCollim also took the blame for a penalty that helped the Thunder score.
“I made a costly mistake late in the game and had 12 players on the field that gave them a first down that led to a score. This one is on me and I owe the kids to do better.”
The Rams fell to 3-2 on the year and will travel to Horton to take on the 0-5 Chargers on Friday.