FSHS probable starters
LT - Grahm Saunders, 6-4, 245, Sr. LG - Doug Bittinger, 6-2, 225, Sr. C - Michael Lisher, 6-2, 245, Jr. RG - Colter Scott, 6-1, 300, Sr. RT - Matt Frantz, 6-4, 250, Sr. TE - Taylor Stuart, 6-1, 205, Sr. WR - Aundre Allen, 5-10, 155, Jr. WR - Preston Randolph, 6-2, 185, Sr. WR - Matt Green, 5-10, 160, Sr. RB - Jack Caywood, 5-8, 165, Jr. QB - Camren Torneden, 5-7, 160, Jr.
NG - Matt Ruder, 6-3, 200, Jr. LE - Lisher, RE - Saunders, LB - Eric Franz, 5-11, 190, Sr. LB - Kirk Resseguie, 6-2, 180, Jr. LB - Keene Niemack, 5-11, 165, Jr. LB - Mitch Werts, 5-10, 190, Sr. LB - Stuart RCB - Torneden, LCB - Schmidt, S - Randolph
P - Resseguie
K - Cole Woolsey, 5-11, 170, Sr.
Bob Lisher said changes were coming, and he wasn't kidding.
Free State High's football coach wasted little time in shuffling his lineup following last Friday's 40-19 season-opening loss against Shawnee Mission West. At the time, he said some starters were "too comfortable" with their positions.
When the Firebirds take the field at 7 tonight at Haskell Stadium against Shawnee Mission South for game two, five new spots will shift - the most notable move coming at quarterback.
Lisher will turn to junior Camren Torneden, who takes over the position from senior Cameron Schmidt. Lisher noted Schmidt's absence stemmed from a shoulder problem that bothered him when throwing the football. But last week, Schmidt struggled, completing 8-of-19 passes for 55 yards and two interceptions before Torneden entered in back-up duty.
Torneden should bring an entirely different style of play, particularly because he is seven inches shorter and 30 pounds lighter than the 6-foot-2, 190-pound Schmidt.
"He's real fast," linebacker Eric Franz said of Torneden. "He knows how to make people miss, although he's a little bit shorter than Cameron so he might have trouble seeing over the line, but he definitely brings a great running game."
Junior Aundre Allen will fill Torneden's former spot at wide receiver.
On the offensive line, Colter Scott is expected to fill in for Josh Hill at right guard.
But Lisher wasn't ready to single out the offense after week one's lopsided loss.
Perhaps the most glaring statistic from last week was the performance of Free State's rush defense, which allowed 383 yards on 40 carries (9.6 yards per carry).
"Last week is last week," Lisher said. "We have to learn to play harder. We have to learn to play our assignments correctly. When that happens, we can be good. If it doesn't happen this week, then we're going to struggle again."
Defensively, 6-3 junior Matt Ruder steps in at nose guard for Doug Bittinger, and Keene Niemack will play linebacker for Spencer Mann.
"Those guys that we changed are still going to have an opportunity to earn their spot back," Lisher said. "There's competition taking place every day in practice. There's competition taking place in games. We'll re-evaluate after this game and see if we need to make more changes."
Linebacker Mitch Werts said preparation during this shortened week had been intense for an SM South team that lost its opener, 27-13, to defending Sunflower League champion SM Northwest.
Werts said his teammates weren't dwelling on last week's 21-point loss, either. Instead, they were taking solace in the fact that the score was not indicative of the Firebirds' overall performance. Free State trailed just 24-19 and was driving in for the go-ahead score with six minutes left before an interception turned the tide.
"It really shows that we are a good football team," Werts said. "We were in the game. We kind of shot ourselves in the foot. It shows that we have a chance to be good."