It took less than 20 seconds on Friday night for Shawnee Mission East to establish its dominance over Shawnee Mission West.
With one cutback, SM East running back Nigil Houston — on the Lancers’ first play of the game — ran the ball 68 yards for a touchdown.
The rout was on from there, and it ended as a 54-0 victory for SM East at Shawnee Mission South stadium. Houston finished with three touchdowns.
Every first-half possession ended in a touchdown for the Lancers, who had 228 rushing yards in the first half on way to a 33-0 lead at halftime.
But the Lancers also were creative, highlighted by the fact that receiver Trevor Thompson finished the first half with a touchdown pass and a touchdown catch.
Thompson took a pitch from quarterback Luke Kaiser, reversed and tossed a 52-yard touchdown to Sky Tate. That one put SM East up 21-0 with 36 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
“Trevor plays baseball too, so he’s got a heck of an arm,” SM East head coach Dustin Delaney said. “We’ve never run that play, but we knew he’s got a great arm.”
An unstoppable SM East offense partnered with something it hadn’t before had this season: a shutout defense.
SM West, normally a prolific offense itself, could not get a rhythm going. The Vikings’ first three possessions ended with three straight failures on fourth down.
Although none of those first fourth-down tries went SM West’s way, head coach Tim Callaghan knew that aggressiveness on offense would be the only chance to keep up with East.
“You think you’ve got it figured out against a team like that,” Callaghan said. “They’re just a really great team.”
This is how confident the Lancers were with their offense: With less than 10 minutes remaining in the game and nursing a shutout, SM East faced a fourth-and-inches at its own 10-yard-line.
The Lancers went for it, and gained 4 yards.
The matchup was each team’s final regular season game, with Kansas Class 6A state playoffs beginning next week.
SM East will head into its postseason at 7-1, and riding the high of its blowout rivalry win.
“It’s huge we got the shutout tonight too,” Delaney said. “You want to be playing your best football heading into the playoffs.”
SM West will have to find a way to come back from a loss that lashed at its confidence.
“They better get their minds right and figure out what they want to do,” Callaghan said. “Or it’s going to be a short-lived time in the playoffs.”