Free State, smarting from a 28-23 nonleague loss at Shawnee Heights on Saturday, will try to regroup this week for Shawnee Mission South. The Firebirds (0-2) will meet the Raiders (0-2) at 7 p.m. Thursday at SM South District Stadium.
"We're a little banged up right up," FSHS coach Bob Lisher said. "This is not a good time for a short week."
The injured include senior linemen Travis Karr (ankle), Adam Fitts (ankle) and Mike Folkman (knee strain), plus junior cornerback Ben Grey (concussion).
"Fitts is probably hurt the worst," Lisher said. "We'll have to see how the others get along this week."
Free State's two losses are by a combined eight points. The Firebirds led late in the fourth quarter in both contests before succumbing to late touchdowns.
"It was very tough to take," Lisher said of the loss to Heights. "We have to learn to play in the fourth quarter and finish off an opponent. We've been having breakdowns at the point of attack."
Free State led Heights 14-6 in the second quarter on Friday before severe weather forced the game to be suspended to Saturday afternoon.
Saturday morning fever
Saturday games are becoming standard for Lawrence High (2-0). The Lions' opener against Shawnee Mission East was postponed to Saturday because of lightning. Severe weather struck again on Friday, suspending Lawrence's game with SM Northwest until Saturday. The LHS-SM East makeup kicked off at 11 a.m. and the LHS-SM Northwest makeup kicked off at 10 a.m.
"We're getting used to it," LHS senior quarterback/defensive back Rob Scott said of the early kickoffs. "Coach says we have to be prepared for Saturday morning games. We hope we can get to that Saturday morning game later in the season."
Scott was referring to the Class 6A state championship, scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 17 at Emporia State. Kickoff is 1 p.m.
Saturday makeup games do spoil the routine the following week.
"We normally watch film on Saturday and now we have to watch film on Monday," said LHS coach Dirk Wedd, whose squad will play Friday against Olathe East at Olathe District Activities Center. "That cuts into our normal offensive day and we have to cut an hour to hour and 10 minutes from practice. It's really hurt the last two weeks in terms of preparation."
Marsh back at practice
Senior Cameron Marsh, one of Lawrence High's most experienced linemen, returned to practice on Monday. He missed the first two games because of partially torn cartilage in his left knee. He'll participate in noncontact drills this week.
"He's probably a week away but, boy, it'd be good to have him back because we're a little thin on the offensive and defensive line," Wedd said.
Going for two
Don't be surprised to see LHS go for more two-point conversions. The Lions have had both of their PAT kicks blocked. Against SM Northwest last week, the Lions were 2-for-3 on two-point conversions.
"If we can go 50 percent on two-point conversions we're OK," Wedd said.
He could go all the way
Senior Chris Johnson nearly broke two kickoff returns for TDs against SM Northwest. Johnson had a 58-yard return and 59-yard return against the Cougars. His 59-yarder to open the second half set up an LHS touchdown.
"The dang kicker kept getting an angle on me and I couldn't get away from him," Johnson said. "Our kickoff team got the blocks and there was a hole up the middle and I just ran."
-- Sports writer Steve Rottinghaus can be reached at 832-7152.