SM Northwest runs over Leavenworth, 42-21, for season’s first win
Shawnee Mission Northwest — in dire need of a win after dropping its first three games of the season — defeated Leavenworth on Thursday, 42-21, in convincing fashion.
The offensive output was just what the Cougars (1-3) needed as they put up a total of just 38 points in their first three games combined.
“We have been offensively challenged the first three games and I’ll take the blame for that,” SM Northwest coach Linn Hibbs said.
The Cougars fell behind 7-0 just 1:32 into the game and could only muster six yards on their first drive, which resulted in a four-and-out.
It seemed like it would be another struggle, but SM Northwest got it going on its second drive and didn’t look back.
Running back Laphonso McKinnis took the first play of the drive 59 yards for a touchdown.
That run took nine seconds.
“We simplified things and put a blocking back in front of Laphonso McKinnis, in front of Duron Lowe and in front of Jacob Gilliam,” Hibbs said.
Lowe, Gilliam and McKinnis all ran for more than 100 yards, running for 176 yards, 121 yards and 100 yards, respectively.
Lowe had an astonishing 19.5 yards per carry and the Cougars ran for 438 total yards on 45 carries, good for a 9.7 average.
“That’s a credit to our offensive line,” Hibbs said. “We did some things differently. We made some adjustments and did some things we’ve done in the past. The linemen really picked it up well.”
With the Cougars up 21-7 after a 15-yard passing touchdown from quarterback Jake Horner — his only completion of the night — to wide receiver Spencer Cook and a 23-yard run by Horner, running back Duron Lowe busted off an 80-yard touchdown run of his own.
That run took eight seconds.
SM Northwest entered halftime leading 35-13, but not after going 97 yards on nine plays in almost five minutes. It was a well-orchestrated drive, which was capped off by an 11-yard score by running back Jake Gilliam.
He added a 27-yard touchdown to his stat line early in the third quarter.
The defense for the Cougars was outstanding all night, recovering four Pioneer fumbles, three of which led to touchdowns.
“We’ve had the ball on the ball against opponents, we just haven’t recovered it,” Hibbs said.
The fourth came with eight seconds remaining in the game.
“We kept telling our kids they’ve been close and keep fighting and that’s what they’ve been doing in practice,” Hibbs said. “We felt like we played tough the first three weeks, we just didn’t create enough breaks. Tonight we were rewarded for our hard work.”