Archive for Thursday, October 16, 2008

Free State football defeats Leavenworth, 55-21

Free State High junior Kirk Resseguie breaks out in front of Leavenworth defenders. The Firebirds defeated the Pioneers, 55-21, Thursday at Leavenworth.

Free State High junior Kirk Resseguie breaks out in front of Leavenworth defenders. The Firebirds defeated the Pioneers, 55-21, Thursday at Leavenworth.

October 16, 2008

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Free State defeats Leavenworth in district play

On the prep gridiron tonight, district play is underway for the Free State High football team. Enlarge video

Free State vs. Leavenworth play featured on ESPN

This touchdown run was featured as a highlight on ESPN. Enlarge video

— No Chucky Hunter, no problem.

Quarterback Camren Torneden compiled a career-high 284 yards of total offense as Free State undressed Leavenworth, 55-21, on Thursday night at Abeles Field.

Hunter, the Firebirds' leading scorer and rusher, turned an ankle in practice Monday and didn't suit, but Torneden took up the slack, and Kirk Resseguie was solid as Hunter's replacement, as well.

"I looked at it as me getting an opportunity to fill his shoes the best I can," Resseguie said.

A 6-foot-2, 180-pound junior, Resseguie rushed for 96 yards on 15 carries and scored a pair of touchdowns. That's more than the normal workload for Resseguie, who usually does little more than handle the punting chores.

"I got tired," Resseguie said, "but I tried to keep it out of my mind."

The Firebirds (4-3) were trying to erase a disappointing 35-7 loss at Olathe North from their minds, and it didn't take long.

Keyed by a 71-yard run by Torneden, the Firebirds scored on their first possession and were off to the races. Torneden tossed a pair of touchdown passes and ran for a score before sitting down midway through the third quarter.

Free State's junior quarterback ran for 136 yards and passed for 148 more to eclipse his 279-yard performance against Shawnee Mission Northwest a month ago.

Free State piled up 431 yards of total offense and led 48-7 at one time.

"Our main focus this week was ourselves," coach Bob Lisher said. "We struggled in fundamentals last week. That's what we wanted to improve and I think we did that."

Offense wasn't the whole story for the Firebirds. Free State intercepted three passes - one each by Cameron Schmidt, Matt Cole and Preston Randolph. Schmidt's was the game-breaker.

Free State led 35-7 late in the first half, but the Pioneers were driving. They were on the Firebirds' 25-yard line with the clock showing fewer than 10 seconds remaining.

Quarterback Bryon Hadfield launched an aerial to the right side intended for Bruce Adams, but Schmidt stepped in front of the pass and took off under full steam. Nobody caught him and, with :04 showing, the Firebirds led 41-7.

"The receiver ran the same route back-to-back," Schmidt said. "Coach (Brett) Oberzan told me to watch his hips, and when I saw them turn, I looked up and saw the ball."

Schmidt wasted no time heading north.

"All I did was set my sights on the end zone," the 6-2, 190-pound senior said. "I went on adrenaline."

Free State added just two more scores the rest of the way and Schmidt's younger brother Chandler was involved in both of them.

With 6:28 remaining in the third quarter, Chandler caught a 14-yard TD pass on what was Torneden's last play of the night. Then in the fourth quarter, the younger Schmidt, a 6-0, 175-pound junior, scored on a three-yard run while playing quarterback.

Thus the Schmidt brothers accounted for three of the Firebirds' eight touchdowns.

"I'm proud of him," the elder Schmidt said of his brother.

Free State also played without starting center-defensive end Michael Lisher who, like Hunter, is sidelined with an ankle injury.

The Firebirds' next game is a week from tonight against Lawrence High, and coach Lisher isn't sure the two starters be back in time for the intra-city rivalry.

"We'll see," Lisher said. "They're both still pretty sore."

Leavenworth (1-6) has never defeated Free State. The Firebirds have won all 11 meetings.

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