High School Sports

High School Sports

Olathe North tramples Free State

Eagles run wild in 38-7 football victory

October 22, 2010


— In a football game that lasted 40 minutes, Olathe North needed just under 20 to trample Free State High.

Led by two of the Sunflower League’s top rushers, the Eagles ran all over the Firebirds, 38-7, on Thursday night at the Olathe District Athletics Center.

“We had a game plan for them. It just didn’t work,” FSHS coach Bob Lisher said. “They did a nice job. That was just a good, old-fashioned behind-kicking.”

Before senior quarterback Dylan Perry and FSHS finally found the end zone — on an 18-yard pass from Perry to Nate Davis — the game was well out of hand.

Seniors Victor Simmons and Adonis Saunders led O-North on a first-half barrage that all but decided the contest.

The Eagles (7-1) scored four touchdowns and outgained the Firebirds (4-4) in total yardage, 279 to 95, before the break.

“We knew what they were doing,” Lisher said. “Our guys knew what they were doing. We just couldn’t stop them in the first half.”

Simmons, who orally committed to play for Kansas University next fall, finished with 169 rushing yards on 18 carries, including an 80-yard touchdown on the Eagles’ third play from scrimmage.

The shifty Saunders carried 20 times for 93 yards.

“It’s no secret,” Olathe North coach Pete Flood said. “We want to get those kids loose.”

After the second Firebird drive stalled, mostly due to a crucial false-start penalty on third-and-one, the Eagles struck again.

On the first play of the drive, Simmons took the snap and handed the ball off to junior Tanner Gentry on a misdirection run.

Gentry quickly got to the edge and took it 47 yards down the sideline for the score.

Perry, who finished with 81 yards rushing and 84 passing, and the offense again struggled to move the ball and gave it right back to the Eagles, who quickly capitalized.

Even after a solid push up front by the Firebirds and two strong tackles for loss by senior Henry Vaeono, Simmons found a way to make a play.

On fourth-and-13, Simmons — not known for his prowess as a passer — fired a strike to Gentry, who beat Perry deep for a 34-yard touchdown.

“It was deflating for everybody,” Lisher said. “When you have a defensive end running fade routes and catching touchdown passes, catching long balls on a team that doesn’t throw the ball very much — that’s not good.”

While the Firebirds labored on offense, the Eagles were as confident as ever.

So confident in its ability to run the ball, in fact, O-North opted to go for it on fourth down from its own 39-yard line. Needing only one yard, Simmons plowed through the pile for six.

Saunders later punched one in from a yard out to make it 28-0 as the half wound to a close.

Game over.

“They punched us in the mouth up front, and we didn’t respond,” Lisher said.

Senior Preston Schenck carried eight times for 35 yards, and junior Shawn Knighton caught three passes for 50 yards for the Firebirds, who, despite holding the Eagles to only 10 second-half points, were never really in it.

“We played a little bit better in the second half,” Lisher said. “But when you’re down 28-to-zip, that’s a pretty hard hole to get out of.”

Simmons and Saunders also stood out on defense, showing off their speed in coverage and making solid hits on the Firebird ball-carriers.

Simmons picked off Perry once, and Saunders had two interceptions.

Now at 1-1 in district play, the Firebirds face a must-win scenario next week against Lawrence High.

“I think our attitude has got to change,” Lisher said. “I don’t know if we thought we could win this game when we stepped on the field tonight by some of the things we were doing.”


Robert Burnham 7 years, 7 months ago

Another nice job of coaching!! This Free State team is good, too bad we don't have the Hutch coach here!!!

hail2oldku 7 years, 7 months ago

You're on the story for the wrong school. It is the LHS fans calling for Dirk's head.

At any rate, this team has plenty of talent, they just don't have enough heart. This group, as a whole, was the laziest (sp?) group I have ever seen in pre-season and conditioning. I'd be chewing @ss if I was one of the players putting in the time and effort only to watch the lazy and undisciplined (though talented) players screw up, miss an assignment, etc. and still slide by the coaches because they have some skills.

DeckDoctors 7 years, 7 months ago

Neither of you gentlemen have a clue about this team or football it appears. If you are the only school in a town of 45,000 like Hutchinson, and in class 5A, you better be able to win a game or two because you are the only team in town and are drawing players from surrounding towns. Free State is well coached and normally plays above average for the size of it's players. Free State would actually qualify for a 5A size school based on enrollment. It is competing against much larger enrollment schools and holding it's own. The real issue with beating a team such as Olathe North is the simple fact to a man Free State is outweighed by 30 to 50 pounds! You can't coach weight onto a player. If either of you had ever played the sport you would understand it is a game of leverage and speed, you can win with one or the other, but if your opponent has both you are in for a long night.

exlion 7 years, 7 months ago

If free state had a 5A enrollment they would be in 5A. They have a 6A enrollment and are in 6A. The state is not picking on free state and forcing them into a larger class.

DeckDoctors 7 years, 7 months ago

Hello X, Free State was THE smallest 6A School last year and things have not improved much. They were nearly moved to 5A last year. No one said they were being picked on, just educating those ignorant on why some teams can dominate while others languish, it's not all about coaching.

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