LHS football not fazed by 0-2 record
It wasn't that long ago - just two years, in fact - that the Lansing High football team trudged to the locker room as owners of an 0-2 record.
Lansing relived that feeling Friday night when it dropped a 21-13 decision at home to Perry-Lecompton. The loss, matched with a 37-14 defeat to Tonganoxie on Sept. 1, gave LHS an 0-2 record and likely ended the Lions' chances of repeating as Kaw Valley League champions.
Peter Willcott was there two years ago when the Lions started 0-2. That year they went on to win eight games in a row, capture a district title and advance to the regional championship game.
Willcott said history shows it's too early to count out the Lions, and he wants his teammates to know that.
"This is high school. This is where you make your memories, and I'm sure everybody feels like to win the games is to make the memory," he said. "We didn't win (Friday), but we came out a lot better in the second half, we were a lot more pumped up and people were blocking better. If we keep doing that and practicing hard, we'll be fine."
Although Willcott said he and his teammates don't doubt their abilities, he said it was important to win their 7 p.m. Friday home contest against Santa Fe Trail.
"If we win next week, that will be the kickoff," he said. "Everybody will know the taste of a win and the taste of a loss, and they'll strive harder for the win."
Trail won't be an easy opponent. It owns a 2-0 record with victories against Piper and Immaculata. Regardless, Pekarek said his main concern is what his squad does - and Lansing still has plenty of areas it needs to improve. Among those weak spots are blocking, overall intensity and stopping the run.
Pekarek said he was pleased with the defensive play in the second half. Lansing allowed Perry to have two big plays in the half - a 72-yard passing play and 18-yard touchdown run back-to-back - but the Lions were solid other than that.
"We just need 11 players out there at a time that are playing their tails off," he said. "A lot of our guys are giving us great effort, but we're still making just enough errors to help the other team. As coaches, we've got to correct the errors that we're doing, get better at out blocking and tackling and keep after it."
Lansing will have a tough time defending its KVL crown this season, but the Lions still have a chance to win a district championship for the third straight year if they continue to get better each week. District games are the last three games of the regular season, and those games determine what teams advance to the state playoffs. Lansing hasn't lost a district game since 2003. That's something junior Justin Smith said he and his teammates have not lost track of.
"We just don't want to make the whole Kaw Valley think that we're out of it," Smith said. "We might be out of the (league) race, but seasons aren't made until those last three games (in district play). Everybody starts 0-0 then, and that's what we're working toward."
The Lansing Booster Club will play host to a pregame tailgate beginning at 5 p.m.