PV relies on Lawrence
Copyright Times News 2009
For Panther Valley's Casey Lawrence, there's something special about playing against Marian.
For starters, his dad (Trevor) played for the Colts and was also an assistant coach under Stan Dakosty.
His brother, TJ, had 1,000-yard passing seasons for Marian in 2002 and 2003.
His grandfather (also Trevor) was the Panthers' head coach in the 1970s and early 80s.
Two years ago as a sophomore, Lawrence had his first varisty start against PV's biggest rival.
"It's a big rivalry and everybody in the area knows about it," said Lawrence. "Of course you get a little more fired up for that game, but as soon as you get going it's just another game."
Based on Lawrence's performance, it's hard to imagine it was just another game.
In the first half alone, the Panther senior threw for 148 yards and two touchdowns and also ran nine times for 109 yards and a score.
Playing just the first drive of the second half, he added another 23-yard TD run as his team pulled away for a 47-14 victory.
That effort earned him the TIMES NEWS Player of the Week. It also marked the second straight year he gained the award playing against the Colts.
"I went to Catholic school for eight years, so I know a lot of their kids," said Lawrence. "I went to school with them, and played Babe Ruth with all of them ... I just happened to go to Panther Valley and I'm glad I did."
His head coach is also pretty pleased Lawrence wears Black and Gold.
"You definitely get up to play them," said PV's Frank Damian. "You don't want to get too emotional over it but with his brother and father playing there and the ties with his grandfather coaching here it's a very important and emotional game for him.
"In his sophomore year when we started him at quarterback, the Marian game was the first one he started. He took his lumps in that game but ever since then he's dedicated himself to be a better quarterback and better leader on this team."
Those skills were never more evident than last Friday night.
With time to throw, his accurate arm resulted in eight completions. When pressure came or his receivers were covered, he found holes to run through and make defenders miss.
"He has intangibles now like not pushing the ball into places it shouldn't be or using his legs when he should instead of staying in there too long," said Damian. "You can't teach those, you have to learn them over time and he's done a great job of doing that.
"I'm kind of torn over what I think he does best, but I guess I'd have to say throw the ball. He has great legs, but he has a cannon for an arm. He can throw from all over the place, running away, or across his body."
Through the first six weeks, Lawrence is 34-of-67 for 680 yards and eight touchdowns. He has also run 52 times fir 331 yards and six scores. More importantly, his team is 5-1 and had won four in a row.
"I played well (Friday), but the line probably played their best game of the year," said Lawrence. "If the pass breaks down, coach gives me the green light to go. Our goal on offense is to put points on the board. It really doesn't matter to us if we do it through the air or on the ground.
"It's been a long road since that first game against Marian as a sophomore, and I hope there's more to come. The coaches had to walk me through things the first few games of my career, but ever since then everything's become second nature to me."