Archive for Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Free State, SM West share league title

October 24, 2006


The Free State High football team will have to settle for sharing the Sunflower League title during its first-ever finish atop the standings.

Both the Firebirds and Shawnee Mission West finished 6-0 in league play, with their final league contests coming last Friday. Free State beat city rival Lawrence High, 49-15, while Shawnee Mission West beat Olathe East - which also entered the game with an unblemished league mark - 35-6.

The Firebirds and Vikings are likely to collide in the Class 6A state playoffs that begin next Friday.

¢ Tough road for LHS: Lawrence High played each of the league football co-champs, bowing to SM West, 51-7, in addition to its loss to Free State. Nevertheless, the Lions (4-4) can qualify for the 6A playoffs if they defeat Topeka High (2-6) on Friday night in their home finale at Haskell Stadium.

¢ No mercy: Free State's 34-point victory over the Lions was the Firebirds' biggest in the 10-year history of the city series. Lawrence High's biggest victory was a 35-0 whitewash in 2000.

¢ Short of a century: Tony Williams rushed for 96 yards on 26 carries Friday night, only the second time the Lawrence High senior had failed to run for at least 100 yards in a game this fall. Williams had a season-low 52 yards in a 14-7 loss to Olathe South.

¢ Youthful presence: Lawrence High sophomore running back Clifton Sims ran 14 times for 44 yards in Friday's game, prompting Free State fans to derisively chant, "He's a sophomore! He's a sophomore!"

¢ Three for the 'D': Free State linebacker Andy Petz's 21-yard interception return for a touchdown against LHS was the third score turned in by the Firebirds' defense this season. Jason Sneegas returned a fumble for a TD in the opener against Leavenworth, and John Bergman recovered a fumble in the end zone against Olathe Northwest.

¢ Going for the kill: Senior Jessica Scott led all Free State players with 15 kills at Saturday's Class 6A sub-state volleyball tournament at Olathe Northwest. Senior Kelsey Harrison had 11, and junior Brooke Carter 10. The Firebirds beat Leavenworth before falling to Lawrence High in the sub-state final.

¢ Strategy backfires: Free State volleyball coach Nancy Hopkins wanted to give seniors Harrison and Scott a breather with the Firebirds ahead of Leavenworth in the second game. However, with Harrison and Scott out, Free State lost five straight points and led only 19-15. Hopkins had to put the duo back in the game to seal the 25-19 victory.

¢ Jones reaches new high: While the Lawrence High gymnastics team won its first Sunflower League title last Tuesday, senior Abby Jones set a career-high in the all-around by posting a 38.025 score.


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