Underdog status unusual for Lansing
For the first time in recent memory the Lansing High boys soccer team isn't considered one of the teams to beat in the Kaw Valley League, and that's just fine with LHS coach Randy Brown.
If the Lions have to sneak up on people, that's cool.
"We kind of like running under the radar," Brown said. "And I think that that's going to be the position that we're in."
Mill Valley returns the bulk of its starting lineup from last year, so Brown said that makes the Jaguars the automatic favorite to win the league. Meanwhile, schools such as Lansing and Basehor-Linwood are reloading their rosters, so their season outlooks remain a mystery.
What's different for Lansing is that unlike recent seasons, the Lions don't return any players with name recognition at the state level. Two years ago they featured one of the most lethal scoring trios in Kansas with forwards Brad Mock and Ty Thackston and midfielder Mike Bayless. Last season they had All-State goalkeeper Alex Burton.
This year's top returning names are honorable mention All-Kaw Valley League defender Drew Reynolds and All-Central Region second-team midfielder Clayton Hall, but Brown said that gives the Lions a solid nucleus to build off of.
"We've got some good players," he said. "We've got a good group of guys and I think we can be pretty good, but now we're getting them to work as a team."
Lansing opens its season at 6 p.m. Friday at Bonner Springs, and Brown said that game would provide good insight as to how good the Lions could be this season.
"If we do really well, then we blew our cover," he said. "But we have a team that's going to have to be 11 guys on the field playing as a team. Otherwise we're going to have problems."
Brown said it's imperative that Lansing plays well against Bonner, because Mill Valley looms six days later.
"(Bonner) ought to be fielding a pretty good team," Brown said. "They're kind of like us, so that should be a good test to show that we can perform as a team : and then we go straight into Mill Valley."