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The School Newspaper of Lawrence High School.

The Budget

The School Newspaper of Lawrence High School.

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LHS football finishes positive season with Derby loss

Lions finish season with a record of 7-3 and a City Showdown win
Maison Flory
Senior running back Tony Jacobson prepares for the snap during the Oct. 12 game against Free State

As the clock ran out on a cool night in Derby, KS, the scoreboard read 48-6. The Lawrence High football team watched their season end at the hands of Derby High School for the 4th year in a row. Football coach Clint Bowen knew what the narrative would be: just another loss at Derby. It’s become an unhappy tradition for the LHS football program. But he believed that like usual, the final score didn’t tell the full story of the season.

The weight of three years of Derby losses was on the shoulders of the team after their first-round win against Dodge City, but Bowen said the team was ready for the challenge.  

“I felt like going into the Derby game, we had the correct mentality,” Bowen said. “We didn’t go down there with the idea that they’re Derby and they’re supposed to win.”

Senior offensive tackle Will Hendricks was forced to watch from the sidelines as he recovered from a torn MCL he sustained midseason. He agreed that the potential was there for a win. 

“I think we shot ourselves in the foot,” Hendricks said. “I think our defense was playing incredibly, early, and the offense just couldn’t get it going. There’s nobody responsible for it, but we just didn’t capitalize on opportunities like we should have. We just made some stupid mistakes when we shouldn’t have. I think that was a winnable game, and I don’t think the score reflects at all what it was like.”

Lawrence High finished with a record of 7-3, an improvement over last year. They also won the City Showdown in overtime, and secured a first round playoff win over Dodge City. But losing the last game put a damper on the season for Bowen. 

Senior team captain Kem Allen leaves the field during the City Showdown on Oct. 13. (Maison Flory)

“At some point in time, we have to get over that hump,” Bowen said. “We have to take the next step as a program at Lawrence High to get us back to the tradition and the expectations that we have for this program, which is competing for state championships. I really felt this was the year that we could make that next step and put this program back up in the elite of the state, and we didn’t do it. That’s not to diminish what the kids accomplished during the year, but at some point in time, that step has to be taken.”

Senior tight end and long snapper Jack Grimes agreed that losing at Derby cannot be the expectation.

“As a Lawrence High football player, a successful season is winning a state championship,” Grimes said. “That’s what all those banners on the west wall are, that’s the expectation when you put on the white stripe, when you’re in a Lawrence High uniform. So anything less than that feels like a disappointment. It’s always good to win a lot of games, and win the rivalry game, but losing the last game always stinks.” 

Despite how the season ended, Bowen pointed out the younger players on the team were able to step up in big ways to win seven games. 

“To their credit, and to our senior class’s credit, they built a culture of not ever quitting,” Bowen said. “We won a lot of close games. We won two overtime games, we had to come back in some games, which I think really spoke for their character and their toughness and their resilience. The improvement for our young kids had to be drastic, and it was.”

We had a lot of young players play significant roles on this team.

— Clint Bowen

One of those senior leaders was right tackle Kem Allen. At the beginning of the season, he made the switch from defensive tackle to the offensive side of the ball, and Bowen recognized the effort that Allen put in. 

“From the time he was a sophomore, to the time he was a senior, the way he progressed and developed as a football player, as a leader, as a great teammate, was really remarkable,” Bowen said. “I’m really proud of what Kem accomplished during his career here.”

Another senior who made a difference was safety Zander Thomas. He led the Sunflower League in tackles and interceptions during the regular season, and he stepped into the role of starting safety during his senior year. 

“He’s a guy who, going into his senior year, people probably didn’t think would have that kind of an impact on a season, he did it by committing himself to getting smarter, better, and improving,” Bowen said. 

The team’s commitment to playing gritty, come-from-behind football was displayed for all to see in the Free State game, where LHS barely forced overtime before winning 31-24. According to Bowen, that is how this team should be remembered.

“It brought everything together,” Bowen said. “We had so many opportunities to quit and say that this thing was over. To win a rivalry game in overtime on the road, and to go out offensively and get a touchdown, then defensively to get a stop, I thought that really epitomized what this team was about. They stayed together, they continued to always support each other, and continued to fight.”

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About the Contributors
Jack Tell
Jack Tell, Co-Editor in Chief
As the co-editor in chief of, I'm looking forward to leading our publication during my senior year. My goal is to continue our tradition of award winning journalism and serve the LHS student body responsibly. When I'm not writing, l prefer to be mountain biking, swimming, or reading. I'm looking forward to covering all sorts of stories and doing quality work this year.
Maeslyn Hamlin
Maeslyn Hamlin, Red and Black Co-Editor in Chief

I'm a third year editor of the Red and Black and this year I'm an editor in chief. When I'm not working on the newspaper I'm usually at work. I work two jobs, play lots of music, and I've pole vaulted in track for three years.

Maison Flory
Maison Flory, Red and Black Photo Editor
I'm a third-year photographer on the journalism staff. When I am not taking pictures, I am showing my animals in 4-H and play club and school soccer.

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