These photos were taken for the Novemebr 7, 1960 issue of the Life Magazine.
On the tingling eve of the big high school football game, drama was being played out in thousands of U.S. cities and towns. Girl students swirl like autumn leaves as they lived and breathed their hopes and fears in high-pitched whispers. The biggest men in school, the football stars, brooded over their assignments and the hundreds of friends who were counting on them. Mass pep rallies in front of school or on practice fields built up the excitement. Coeds mooned over their heroes in class and the popular girls set their caps for coveted dates with the team’s star players.
The tension of the adult world – even college football – seems tame beside the bubbling pressures of high school football. In Lawrence, Kan., a city of 33,000, the pressure is even greater for the Lawrence High Lions have the longest current winning streak in schoolboy football – 45 games. As Lawrence, on the weekend reported in these pictures, prepared for its big game against Shawnee-Mission North, the 1,100 students urged the ream on with usual fighting, go-get-‘em slogans. But the players themselves faced things a little differently from most. Booted in the strict religious environment of Kansas, they attend a prayer meeting and Bible discussion at a barn outside of town, where on of them wisecracked, “He who playeth hardest beateth Shawnee-Mission North.”