• Last modified 19 days ago (July 4, 2024)


Lanning looks back after Shrine game

Special to the Record

His list of accomplishments would fill a Big Chief tablet, but one accomplishment will help define the stellar football career of former Marion Warrior Jack Lanning. 

“The 105 (yard) pick-six was one of the highlights of my high school career,” he said. “It was against Council Grove, and they had the ball on our 5, and the QB rolls out and tries to throw the ball over my head, and I jumped up and grabbed it.

“In the moment, I just took off without even thinking, and one of my d-lineman, Jackson Bitonti, made a huge block for me, and I was off to the races!

“It was a surreal feeling because the game went from being tied up if that guy catches to being up two touchdowns after I took it to the crib. It was a huge momentum swing.”

Teammate Kellen Waner, who will be a senior this fall, is a fan.

“He was not only an amazing athlete, but he just always knew how to rally the troops and get everyone to work together,” Waner said.

Lanning, a 5-foot-11, 185-pounder who runs a 4.7 in the 40, capped his high school career Saturday night with participation in the Shrine Bowl at Emporia. 

“I played pretty good with the reps I got,” Lanning said. “I made a few tackles and played well.”

He was credited officially with two solo tackles, one assist, and fair-catching the opening kickoff for the West squad.

“My selection to the Shrine Bowl is one of the bigger accomplishments that I have received,” Lanning said. “Not only is it a great opportunity to play with the best players around the state but also a great opportunity to hear how fortunate I am as an athlete and a person to live the life I do and get to play the game I love.

“It was a humbling experience to be around a bunch of great people and hear the stories of the Shriner kid.”

Lanning, who will play at Coffeyville Community College this fall, had a stellar senior season for the Warriors, completing 67% of his passes and logging a 149.3 quarterback rating.

“They are getting a Swiss Army knife with more drive to get better than anyone,” former Warrior teammate Jonathan Frese said. “His high football IQ separates him from the athletes, letting him make quicker and better decisions.”

Warrior running back Trevor Schafers agreed.

“Jack is an all-around great guy,” he said. “He is always trying to bring out the best in his teammates and even his coaches. He is extremely hard working and keeps everyone on their toes — one of those ‘first person there and last to leave’ guys every day.”

Lanning accounted for 2,200 yards of offense and 22 touchdowns in his Warrior career, just missing the school rushing record of 1,400 yards.

On defense, he finished with four interceptions and 60 tackles.

“If I were to describe me as a quarterback, it would definitely be a physical, more gritty QB rather than technique QB,” Lanning said. “I just tried to find ways to get into the end zone and find ways to help my team win. I was a downhill runner that also had speed to help me be successful.”

High school opponent Noah Little of Sedgwick praised Lanning.

“He’s a really big guy, and a really good athlete, really powerful,” Little said of Lanning, who squats 425, cleans 275, and benches 245 pounds. “He was really tough to try and contain when we played them for the district championship.”

Lanning said his desire to win made him an effective leader.

“I have a burning passion to win anything I do in life,” he said. “It’s how I was raised, and I feel like that passion turns me into a leader to help drag people along, to have them want the same goal as me.”

Former teammate Lane Smith, who will be a senior this fall, agreed.

“Great leader, man he is that,” Smith said. “Amazing player, great with decision making on and off the field, great person to be around, always having fun but getting stuff done at the same time.

“He took me under his wing last year, taught me everything he knew. Really helped me be a better player for the team, always coaching up the younger kids and keeping the older ones in check when needed. Always humble and positive.”

Lanning credited his teammates for his success.

“The main reason I was who I was on the field was definitely because of my teammates,” he said. “I had a ton of stud lineman up front who were willing to give up the spotlight for me to be in it. They kept their heads down and dominated in the trenches week in and week out to help me be successful.

“Another reason I was a big success was due to the people in the backfield with me. Trevor Schafers was another dominant part of my success and the team. When teams focus on stopping him, it opens up a bunch of opportunities for me to do great things on the field.”

Schafers rushed for 1,395 yards last fall and 3,232 for his career.

“Jack and I have been in the weight room since we were in middle school and friends since we were really young,” Schafers said. “Our playbook was pretty much built for us because when one of us didn’t get the ball the other did almost every time.

“We opened up lanes for each other and even our other teammates as well. I know I got tackled every time Jack scored on a fake handoff. The combination of speed and power between us is hard to stop, especially when we also have other weapons on the field too.”

Waner credited Lanning’s attitude.

“Jack was a great leader on and off the field,” he said. “He was always looking for a way to make the team closer and better. Jack always found a way to stay positive when the team was down. Even when we were losing, he would never give up.

“Off the field, he would never hesitate to help out around the community. Overall, Jack was one of the best players and leaders I have ever been around.”

Frese couldn’t pinpoint one play that epitomized Lanning as a Warrior.

“There’s too many to choose from that make you wonder how he got away from defenders,” he said.

Lanning hopes his legacy at Marion goes beyond any victory.

“The legacy I hope I left for future Marion football players and students doesn’t really come from the wins we had late into my high school career,” Lanning said. “The legacy I hope people took from me was working hard can take you a long ways in life and being nice to people can take you even further.

“Football at the end of the day is a game, and eventually it’s a game that we all have to stop playing at some point.

“My goal was to show people that at the end of the day you aren’t remembered for what you did on the field but for what you did off the field and how you made people feel.

“I hope that I touched some people’s life and left a dent in Marion’s programs and school for years to come to show that you can do whatever you want if you put your mind to it.

“I started out my freshman year as a left tackle and ended my high school career as a QB and DB. That all came from hard work.”

Lanning had several NAIA offers. Garden City also offered after he had committed to Coffeyville. 

“I was also highly considering Tabor College as I love the coaching staff there,” said Lanning, who led the Warriors to a 9-2 record. “I ultimately decided on Coffeyville to hopefully take my levels from the juco level to something more.”

Last modified July 4, 2024