High School Sports

High School Sports

Early ‘Birds

Firebirds score 4 touchdowns in first 4 minutes

Members of the Free State football team signal No. 4 after their fourth consecutive victory over crosstown rival Lawrence High. The Firebirds won, 
42-14, Friday at Free State High.

Members of the Free State football team signal No. 4 after their fourth consecutive victory over crosstown rival Lawrence High. The Firebirds won, 42-14, Friday at Free State High.

October 24, 2009


Free State crushes rival Lawrence High

Free State High School's offense was explosive Friday night against the Lions. The Firebirds hung 42 points on the Lions in the 13th head-to-head contest in the schools' history. The Firebirds have won the rivalry game the past four years. Enlarge video

Anyone with a 7:30 p.m. dinner date Friday night could have stayed at Free State High for 20 minutes, seen all he needed to see of the football game and still made it to the table in time for the first course.

Four Free State touchdowns in the first four minutes of Friday’s City Showdown against Lawrence High led the Firebirds to their fourth straight victory in the crosstown rivalry, a 42-14 rout of the winless Lions.

“We felt like it was really big to come out on top, stay on top and keep our foot on the throat,” said Free State senior quarterback Camren Torneden. “We did that. We executed.”

Executed is putting it mildly. During the first-quarter blitz, Free State did whatever it wanted on offense and tried to match that with its defense.

On the first play of the game, Torneden raced 71 yards for a touchdown. One play, 13 seconds, seven points.

On their first defensive stand of the night, the Firebirds forced a Lawrence High fumble on the second play from scrimmage and jumped ahead 14-zip when linebacker Matt Cole scooped up the loose pigskin and rumbled 35 yards for a touchdown.

Lawrence High coughed up the ball yet again on the first play of its next drive, and Free State turned that into a 21-0 advantage when senior tailback Kirk Resseguie scored from a yard out.

The fatal blow of the first quarter came when junior Preston Schenck intercepted the Lions’ first pass of the night on drive No. 3 and returned it to the LHS 27-yard line.

On the next series, the Firebirds scored again in just one play, as Torneden rumbled in from 27 yards out without being touched.

“Any time you score on the first play of a series, that’s one of the best feelings you can have,” senior offensive lineman Spencer Chestnut said.

After the game, Torneden — who finished the night with 256 yards of total offense and four TDs — was sure to give credit to the big boys up front for keeping his jersey clean.

“The line was nice tonight,” Torneden said. “The linemen did their jobs. I was running through Mack truck holes out there.”

It was evident early on that the opening flurry completely took the Lions out of the game. Although LHS stormed the field with a great deal of energy, the Lions’ sideline quickly resembled the drive home from an amusement park after a day of sugary snacks and long lines. In a word, everyone crashed.

“I think they were shell-shocked,” Free State senior Chandler Schmidt said. “We scored 28 points in the first quarter, and when they came back out they just had that look in their eyes of, ‘What are we doing here? What’s going on?’”

The Lions (0-8) quickly settled in and actually played the Firebirds even the rest of the way.

LHS matched Free State’s next two scores of the first half — Torneden hit Keene Niemack with a 65-yard TD pass and added a 52-yard TD run — with a pair of Tyrae Jenkins one-yard TD runs.

“To come out, get the three turnovers and get the short field, that’s going to be pretty tough on anybody,” Lisher said. “You look at the scoreboard, and if we don’t get those three turnovers it could have been a very different football game. But our guys got ’em, and we took advantage of it.”

The second half was one of the shortest halves of high school football on record. It began a little after 8:30 and ended at 9:01.

Part of that was because both teams preferred to keep the ball on the ground. Part of it was because the Firebirds clearly made a point to call off the dogs.

“We just wanted to come out and be fundamentally sound the second half,” Lisher said. “We just wanted to play it each and every play. We weren’t so much concerned about scoring or not scoring.”

The Firebirds (6-2) have outscored their last two opponents, 97-14. More important than that margin, though, was the fact that the 83-point spread led to back-to-back district victories and helped the Firebirds clinch a playoff berth.

“That was more important than anything else,” Lisher said. “We wanted to win this game because it was our second district game, and we wanted to get back to the playoffs.”


d_prowess 8 years, 6 months ago

looking at the picture of the field, does anyone else think the spacing of the word "State" in the end zone is a little off?

been_there 8 years, 6 months ago

Must be because of the two "T" letters.

persevering_gal 8 years, 6 months ago

Yes, the kerning is off. Poor designers on whomever designed the field.

Clickker 8 years, 6 months ago

This game was a blowout waiting to happen, and FS coulda put up 70 points pretty easily. The next few years should different as LHS has plenty of young talent if Wedd can keep them in the program. Lisher has some god talent, but nothing that compares with Torneden and Ressiuge. He will likely move Niemak to QB or use Dylan in that role. After that, I personally know he is salivating over an 8th grader at West who looks just like Ryan Murphy....he can play multiple positions, but Lish wants to make him a Murphy like QB in the spread. Watch out LHS.

Freestater456 8 years, 6 months ago

I really liked the sign on the lhs side that said "got pride?", yet at halftime over 3/4 of their student section was gone and half of those people were on the Free State side. So if that truly was a question......no. Lhs does not have pride.

Go Free State!

overthemoon 8 years, 6 months ago

I am really offended and disgusted with the fancy new field. This ridiculous show of misplaced priorities is put on when other school programs are being drastically cut or discontinued, we can't afford the teachers needed to ensure that graduates are prepared for college or work.

So Blue Valley has nice stuff that we want too? Look at their tax base. They pay dearly for their education in Johnson county but not just sports. All of the Blue Valley high schools rank in the top 100 schools in the country. They want excellence and they're willing to pay for it. We want fancy football fields.

Clickker 8 years, 6 months ago

Clicker- Niemack is a senior

You are right...my mistake.

It is LHS that as all the underclassmen. If they can keep them in the program, and get Bellair some anger management training, they will be good for the next few years. FS didnt even have enough sophs to field a soph team. The upcoming 9th graders are OK, but the class that follows that could be good, esp if Lish can train the Lane kid from West into being a spread QB.

Mandie Eutsler 8 years, 6 months ago

overthemoon.... not that i don't agree with you but, get over it... it's done.

Michael Stanclift 8 years, 6 months ago

I was so confused by how short the second half was, that as I was down on the sidelines taking pictures (not really watching the clock at all) and they announced it was over, I thought they'd just called the game off because LHS had given up.

shepdog 8 years, 6 months ago

Did lhs use the same snap count all the time because fshs was jumping the line before the offense could react???

lionsrock 8 years, 6 months ago

You cant blame the coach for a lopsided loss, but it is the coach to blame for only 10 seniors on the team, it just shows bigtime that the kids dont want to play for him. time to move on with a new coach............

firewedd 8 years, 6 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

hellolove 8 years, 6 months ago

oh hey. lionsrock. you don't know what you are talking about. one of the big reasons we don't have tons of seniors is because every kid interested in playing football gets their parents to move into the freestate district.

and beobachter. don't you dare call these kids cowards and quiters. its not like they aren't trying. they work their butts off everyday at practice and on the field at games. these kids are playing through pain and injuries to be there for their team. they are 0-8. it takes guts to keep putting on a uniform for a team that hasn't won a game. leave these kids alone. they deserve better than to be bashed over message boards.

and for the record. life is not about high school football games. it should be about the kids. not the score at the end of a game.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.