Lions ready for home opener against Lee’s Summit West


Addison Thornsbury

Senior Hunter Krom and other members of the LHS football team dance at the fall sports assembly earlier this month. The Lions play their first home game on Sept. 15 after starting the season with two wins on the road.

By William Yanek, Online Editor

With two wins and 111 total points of offense in the first two games at Shawnee Mission Northwest and Shawnee Mission North, Lawrence is poised and ready to take on Lee’s Summit West in a rematch at the Lion’s home stadium Sept. 15.

In last year’s matchup, the Titans stunted the Lion’s stellar offense by only allowing seven points in four quarters, beating Lawrence 28-7 in the Lion’s second-ever matchup against an out-of-state opponent. The Lion’s will look for redemption this year by relying on their offensive firepower as well as a relatively inexperienced defense to make key stops.

At quarterback is Dante Jackson, a varsity returner whose speed and agility creates a dynamic and multifaceted offense. At Shawnee Mission North, he ran for 198 yards with four touchdowns and threw for 85 yards with three touchdowns.

“You should expect us to win, but they’re a really good team out of Missouri; they are No. 3 in their conference,” Jackson said. “It’s going to be a tough game. We lost to them last year, so we are looking for the win this year.”

At offensive line are seniors Kristian Russell, Nick Englebert, Jacob Mills, Bailey Greer and junior Bryce Tibke. These five were crucial in the success of the offense the first two games of the season. Despite only having two returners, Jacob Mills believes the five offensive linemen have formed a cohesive unit.

“So far all of us have clicked because four of us have known each other since we were freshmen and before that, too. We’ve known each other since we were seventh-graders,” Mills said. “We all kind of connect, and we’re all really good friends, so it helps us play well together.”

Another key weapon on the offensive end is Ekow Boye-Doe at wide receiver. Boye-Doe has received multiple division one offers from schools such as the University of Kansas and Kansas State University for his length and blazing speed. In the first two games, Boye-Doe received for 97 yards with two touchdowns.

“Personally I think I’ve done well on a lot of fast things like quick slants and quick screens,” Boye Doe said. “As a team we can score whenever we want on any drive, either throwing it or running it.”

On the defensive end, many players who didn’t play last year will have to step up and perform this year. Defensive lineman Tim Vongphachanh, who scored a touchdown on a pivotal fumble recovery against Shawnee Mission North, is one such player.

“We [the defensive line] stepped up a lot during the summer because we have lost our D-line from last year, so we have to step up,” Vongphachanh said. “Last year I didn’t play any snaps, but this year I’m starting to prove myself on the field and off the field.”

Despite the inexperience, senior linebacker Ja’relle Dye is optimistic about the Lion’s defensive play thus far.

“I think the defense has improved a lot because we have all new guys on defense,” Dye said. “Some of us are playing in new positions, so I think we worked together and played hard.”

Building off the momentum of the past two games, the Lion’s believe they are tested and ready to take on the Titans.

“You should expect a dog fight. They’re a great team we’re a good team,” Vongphachanh said. “It’s going to be a battle.”