Too much Strauss
By Adam Sullivan
Last season Olathe South eliminated Lawrence High from the State playoffs. In that game Lawrence wasn't at full strength. Quarterback Brad Strauss had suffered an ankle injury and was limited in his ability to lead his team.
Friday at Lawrence, Strauss took the field for the Lions homecoming game with Olathe South and made up for lost time.
“It was fun getting out there and playing them, I really wanted a shot at them especially in front of a huge crowd like tonight.” Said Strauss
Lawrence started the night off quickly taking only two minutes off the clock before Strauss found Drake Hofer on an 11-yard touchdown pass, and again finding Hofer on the two point conversion putting Lawrence ahead 8-0.
Olathe South would respond three plays later on a 64-yard touchdown run by Russell White but the Falcons missed the two point try giving Lawrence an 8-6 lead with 8:35 left in the first quarter.
On the next drive Lawrence would keep the pressure on. After completing several passes putting Lawrence in the red zone, Strauss found the end zone on a 1-yard touchdown run and the Lions again got the two-point conversion taking a 16-6 lead.
In a first quarter that felt like a street fight Olathe South would throw the next punch. After marching down the field and taking four minutes off the clock, Frankie Seurer Jr. would score on a 5-yard touchdown run closing the first quarter out at 16-14 Lawrence.
”We knew Olathe South would be angry coming in, and we just kept saying throw the next punch.” Lawrence Head Coach Dirk Wedd commented after the game.
The second quarter would belong to Brad Strauss and the Lawrence defense. After forcing a turnover on downs the Lions would get the ball back late in the second quarter. Eight plays later Strauss scored his third touchdown on the night giving Lawrence a 22-14 lead.
At this point the game would change, Lawrence’s defense again would hold South and force a punt giving the Lions the ball back with 1:25 remaining in the half. Strauss would connect with Will Thompson on several key passes that set up a 9-yard touchdown pass from Strauss to Jordan Brown giving Lawrence a 28-14 lead at the half.
“We knew that if we could get them down with their offense it would be really hard for them to come back.” Said Strauss
South would get the ball to start the second half and marched all the way down to the Lawrence 33 in five minutes. Facing a fourth and two the Lawrence defense would stuff Russell White at the line giving the Lions the ball and momentum back. Strauss and the Lions offense would do all the work from there, as the Lions took six minutes off the clock with a balance of runs and passes that eventually set up Strauss for his fifth touchdown of the night. With :47 seconds remaining in the third quarter Strauss sneaked in to the end zone from three yards out giving the Lions a 34-14 lead. Strauss would finish the night with 214 yards passing and five touchdowns.
“I don’t think there is a team in the state that asks more from one player than we do from Strauss.” Said Coach Wedd
Like a defending state champ would, the Falcons wouldn’t give up. Led by Russell White the Falcons would have a chance to close the gap a bit. With 8:26 left in the game South had the ball fourth and goal from the Lions two yard line. White would take the handoff and dive over the pile getting in for the touchdown and bringing South back to within 13 points.
After a muffed kickoff return the Lions were forced to punt from their own 14-yard line giving South the ball back with six minutes left. South facing fourth and eleven from the Lawrence 35-yard line needed someone to step up to keep their hopes alive. Seurer would be that guy as he found Justin Magott for 16 yards keeping the drive alive. After another Seurer pass, the Falcons would be faced with first and goal from the one yard line. Russell White would be stuffed at the line three straight plays forcing a fourth and goal from the one. This time White would be successful and brought Olathe South back to a 34-27 game with 1:30 left.
The Falcon defense would force a punt while only giving up 25 seconds on the clock. South would take over with 1:05 left from their own 17 yard line. Seurer would connect on an eight-yard pass on first down, but then had second and third down fall incomplete. Fourth and eight with :51 seconds left, the Falcons were down to their last chance. Seurer hiked the ball but a bad snap was recovered by Kieran Severa from Lawrence, sealing a 34-27 win for the Lions.
With the win Lawrence advances to 4-1 on the season and will face Shawnee Mission South next week.
”SM South is a strong team, and Gabe Guild will definitely be a handful for us.” Said Coach Wedd
Olathe South falls to 3-2 and will meet Shawnee Mission Northwest next week.
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