Playoff preview: Lansing High and Turner at a glance
Bonner Springs The Lansing High football team started its season with three straight losses, but since then the Lions have rattled off four victories in their last six games. That hot streak was just enough for them to finish second in Class 5A district one and earn a spot in the state playoffs for the third straight season.
Now Lansing finds itself on the verge of making history. LHS plays in the first round of the state playoffs at 7 p.m. tonight against Kansas City-Turner at Bonner Springs High School. A loss would end the Lions' season, but a victory would put them in the state quarterfinals for the first time in school history.
Lansing has two postseason football victories in school history. Those wins - a 10-7 decision against De Soto in 2004 and a 24-21 victory over Perry-Lecompton in 2005 - both came in the Class 4A bidistrict round. The bidistrict round was added to allow more teams into the playoffs, but both seasons the Lions lost their regional championship games to Holton.
Class 5A doesn't have a bidistrict round, so the first round game is the regional championship. Although history hasn't been good to Lansing in this round, this season has hardly mirrored LHS football history. The past two seasons the Lions were a combined 17-5. This year's team is 4-5.
Turner is just 5-4, so the Golden Bears are a favorable opponent - especially considering the alternative was to play No. 2-ranked St. Thomas Aquinas (8-1).
FIVE KEYS TO THE GAME
1. Offense must continue to produce - Lansing's offense struggled to put the ball in the endzone most of the season. LHS got it done the last two weeks, however, and that's why the Lions are in the playoffs. Getting to the red zone won't be good enough. The Lions must finish drives with touchdowns.
2. Score early - Nothing calms an offense's jitters like an early score. Plus, Lansing's defense has played its best when the offense gives it a lead.
3. Defense must do its thing - The LHS defense has been the Lions' bread and butter all season. Teams flat-out haven't run well against Lansing the last few weeks. Washington and Schlagle both speed-oriented teams combined for just 174 yards on the ground against LHS.
4. Don't give up the big play - During the first six games the Lansing defense was solid with the exception of one or two big plays. Those big plays almost always went for game-changing touchdowns for the opposition. The defense has avoided the big mistakes the last two weeks. Not surprisingly, both games were wins.
5. Fan support - No, this game won't be played at "The Jungle," but it's not a Turner, either. Nobody has home-field advantage, but fans could make it feel that way for LHS if they make the 15 minute drive up Kansas Highway 7.
TEAM SCHEDULES AND RESULTS
Lansing Lions (4-5)
14-37 loss to Tonganoxie
13-21 loss to Perry-Lecompton
26-27 loss to Santa Fe Trail
27-7 win against Bonner Springs
13-6 win against Basehor-Linwood
0-14 loss to Mill Valley
22-41 loss to Shawnee Heights
20-13 win against KC-Washington
19-7 win against KC-Schlagle
Turner Golden Bears (5-4)
20-37 loss to Blue Valley North
35-7 win against Abilene
8-15 loss to Paola
30-16 win against Bishop Ward
72-12 win against Ottawa
6-14 loss to Atchison
48-22 win against KC-Wyandotte
38-14 win against KC-Sumner Academy
20-21 loss to Bonner Springs