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Archive for Tuesday, October 20, 1998

FREE STATE FOOTBALL WIN IN MUDDY BATTLE

October 20, 1998

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Free State High's district football game with Leavenworth on Saturday was historic in more ways than one.

The Firebirds improved to 5-2 overall and 3-2 in the Sunflower League with their 14-6 victory over the Pioneers (2-5, 1-4) in a game that lasted over five hours due to delays caused by inclement weather.

``We tried to take some positives after that mudfest,'' FSHS coach Bob Lisher said. ``It is a very positive step forward for our football team in the fact that they haven't lost at home, and they did get three in a row and they guaranteed themselves a winning season with that victory on Monday.''

On Monday?

``Or Saturday, whenever it was,'' Lisher added with a tired smile.

It may have felt like the game lasted three days to players and coaches from both squads who had to endure three rain delays that totaled three hours and 13 minutes.

The game, which started at 11 a.m., was halted at 11:50 a.m. with 2:58 remaining in the first half when lightning was spotted. Four hours and 15 minutes later the Firebirds walked off the muddy field with their first district win of the season.

``I think they were just relieved to get it finally over with, relieved that we did come out of there with a win and I think they're ready to move on to Topeka as well,'' Lisher said of the players. ``It's difficult to stay focused during three hours (of waiting). I don't care what type of competitor you are, it's just difficult to do in that type of situation.''

Luckily for Free State, which travels to Topeka (2-5) on Friday night for its second district contest, junior fullback Jake Lawrence spotted the team an early 14-0 lead with two first-quarter touchdown runs.

After the weather took a turn for the worse, neither team could mount much of an offensive attack.

``The field conditions ... it was a skating rink,'' Lisher said. ``There was no traction for either team. That's an equalizer. Both teams were pretty much equal after the rain delay, it was just a matter of hanging on to the football and not making mistakes.''

-- Robert Sinclair's phone message number is 832-7185. His e-mail address is rsinclair@ljworld.com.

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