Panthers, Lancers set to collide for 6A title

L to R: Shawnee Mission East's Jackson Gossick & Derby's Jeremy Dunham. (PrepsKC & David Jackson)
By: Mark Schremmer for
Nov 29, 2013

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For a team filled with Division I prospects, expectations surrounded the Derby Panthers as they opened the 2013 season.

A season-opening 41-35 loss to Salina South wasn’t the type of start the Panthers were expecting. But Derby (11-1) has rattled off 11 straight wins since then and is set to face Shawnee Mission East (11-1) at 1 p.m. today in Topeka for the Class 6A state championship.

“We knew we were pretty special coming in, but our kids knew they were pretty good, too,” Derby coach Brandon Clark said. “It was a pretty humbling experience for our kids and our coaches. Before the game, we got the kids prepared for two weeks for that game and the kids’ heads were spinning. We decided to get back to the fundamentals, stay the course and do the things we do well and not beat ourselves.”

The Lancers, meanwhile, are playing in their first state title game with a new head coach after finishing only 7-3 a year ago.

“In the summer I thought we could be good on defense,” said Shawnee Mission East coach Dustin Delaney, who previously served as head coach at Emporia and as an assistant at Hutchinson. “Any time you can play good on defense then you can win some games. That’s what we’ve done all year. We’ve relied on our defense to win.”

Since that first loss to Salina South, Derby has won every game by 22 points or more.

The Panthers’ roster of high-profile players includes senior tight end DeAndre Goolsby (6-4, 225), who has verbally committed to play for the Florida Gators. Running back Tyler West, defensive backs Jose Delgado, Travis Young and Caleb Arnold, offensive linemen Cole Hansen and Tyler Anderson, and Nathan Emrich have all been on the radar of Division I scouts.

Shawnee Mission East’s only loss came to Lawrence Free State 17-10 in overtime on Oct. 11.

The Lancers’ defense has been strong all season. Shawnee Mission East has pitched two shutouts and has limited opponents to 14 points or fewer six times. Last week’s 37-27 win against Olathe North was the most points allowed all year.

Kyle Ball leads the Lancer defense with 101 tackles.

With Delaney implementing the flexbone offense, the Lancers have rushed for 3,475 yards this season. Luke Taylor leads the way with 1,260 yards and 13 touchdowns. Six other Shawnee Mission East players have rushed for 250 yards or more on the season.

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