Shawnee Mission East High celebrates undefeated state football champs

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PRAIRIE VILLAGE, Kan. -- They're proud of their Columbia blue jerseys at Shawnee Mission East High School. But now, there's a hint of gold at that school, after the Lancers claimed its first state football championship, the first-ever state football title in the school's 57-year history.

Second-year East coach Dustin Delaney and his Lancers capped off an unbeaten season in Saturday's Class 6A Championship Game against Hutchison.

On Tuesday morning, Shawnee Mission East honored a number of its athletic heroes at this special assembly, and the state football champs were the stars of the show.

It was a hero's welcome greeting the state champions -- as they presented their fellow students with Sunflower State gold.

"It makes me feel really proud, how the whole community supports you," East defensive end Kyle Ball said. "It's great how excited they get when you succeed. It's just an awesome feeling."

And it comes after an awesome effort. Delaney led his team into Emporia on Saturday, and beat Hutchinson 33-14. Delaney says it's been a point of emphasis to get this team to number one.

"From day one when I got the job, that's what we talked to the kids about is winning the state championship," Delaney said. "The kids believed it and we achieved it. To be the first in school history is really neat."

"It's awesome," Lancers linebacker Sam Pottinger said. "This is something we've wanted to bring home to the school for as long as we've been here. We've been dreaming about this since we were little. To accomplish it is pretty special."

The feat isn't lost on students at East, including junior Bonnie Lonogan, who got her hands on the big gold trophy during the ceremony.

"It was awesome," Lonogan said. "It was great being there. I've been an East fan all my life so we had to watch it be really bad, and it was awesome to see them come out on top."

The Lancers also used that special assembly to honor its state girls tennis champions as well. They won a third-consecutive state crown by beating Lawrence Free State back in October.

The Lancers aren't the only state football champions in the metro. Bishop Miege won its state title in Kansas Class 4 Division One, and on the Missouri side, Oak Grove won it all in Class Three. Both of those schools are planning salutes to their respective champs in the coming weeks.

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