The Shawnee Mission East football team has used some good old fashioned teamwork to earn its No. 2 overall spot in the Kansas Class 6A postseason bracket.
The Lancers enter the state tournament with an 8-1 record and will face Leavenworth on Friday night at Shawnee Mission District Stadium for a spot in next week’s sectional.
“I don’t think we necessarily have any star players, but our whole roster believes in what we do and a new kid steps up every week,” coach Dustin Delaney said. “We’re playing really well as a team.”
The Lancers are playing well enough as a team to lead the Sunflower League in several offensive and defensive categories, including total offense, total defense, rushing yards, points allowed and rushing yards allowed.
As for individual achievements, Charlie White is the only player leading the league in any categories. White is tops in interceptions and punt-return average. Luke Taylor ranks fourth in the league in rushing yards, Mitchell Taylor ranks seventh in receiving yards and Christian Blessen ranks sixth in passing yards and seventh in total offense.
Though SM East defeated Leavenworth 34-0 in the first week of the season, the Lancers are wary of senior running back Jason Randall, who is leading the Sunflower League with 1,285 yards on 188 rushes with 13 touchdowns.
“Leavenworth has been so dangerous because of their skill kids,” Delaney said. “Jason Randall is as good a player as there is in our league, and if we can’t stop him, it’s going to be a long night.”
In their first meeting, the Lancers held Randall to just 66 yards in 11 carries.
Lancers senior linebacker Ryan Carter is confident they can do it again.
“He is fast, but I think we’re going to do a good job containing him,” Carter said. “He is most of their team, so we’ve just got to stop him.”
Rushing defense has been one of the many strengths of the Lancers, who are allowing just 90.44 rushing yards per game.
“We have a lot of guys that do their job,” Carter said of the defense. “Nobody is out to get their own stats up. It’s all what’s best for the team. We play really hard.”