Missouri state football: Lawson preview

11/27/2013 12:26 PM

11/27/2013 12:27 PM

Are you ready for some high school state championship football? Among the Kansas City area teams vying for a state title is Lawson. Here’s a preview of their game.

Class 2: Lamar (13-1) vs. Lawson (12-2), 4:15 p.m. Friday

The Lawson Cardinals were blown out twice in their first six games. Each time, coach Todd Dunn says, they were better for it.

It’s hard to argue with his point.

Maryville blew out Lawson 32-0 in the season opener in August, but the Cardinals responded with four straight convincing victories. The fourth came against Lathrop, which marked Lathrop’s only loss of the regular season.

And after East Buchanan dealt Lawson a 48-14 defeat in Week 6, the Cardinals haven’t lost since.

It’s no mystery why.

After allowing 20.3 points per game over the first seven weeks of the season, the Lawson defense has turned a corner. The Cardinals have given up only eight points per game over the last seven contests, and no opponent has topped 14 points in the same time frame.

“There were peaks and valleys early in the season, but right now they’ve just been playing with a ton of confidence,” Dunn said. “We have smart kids on defense, and they’ve found a comfort zone in what we’re doing. We just let them hit, run and hit.”

The confidence is nice, but it is equally matched by Lamar in Friday’s Missouri Class 2 state championship game. The Tigers have won back-to-back state titles, and has scored more points than any team in the state.

Its running game, powered by twin offensive linemen Sam Bailey — a Missouri commit — and Ben Bailey, can take credit for a team that has been held under 46 points only once.

Lawson will certainly try to avoid a shootout, but quarterback Garrett Titus and running back Preston Smidt have heated up the Cardinals’ offense. They combined for three second-half touchdowns in a 28-12 win against Blair Oaks of Jefferson City last week.

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