High School Sports

High School Sports

Firebirds stopped short

Free State quarterback Kyle McFarland is wrapped up by the defense as Free State played Shawnee Mission East Thursday, Oct. 6, 2011, in Overland Park.

Free State quarterback Kyle McFarland is wrapped up by the defense as Free State played Shawnee Mission East Thursday, Oct. 6, 2011, in Overland Park.

October 7, 2011


— An improbable comeback for Free State High’s football team ended a foot short Thursday night.

After driving 97 yards for a touchdown with no timeouts in less than a minute, Free State quarterback Kyle McFarland was stuffed at the goal line on a two-point conversion attempt with 12.4 seconds left, and Shawnee Mission East held on for a 14-12 victory at Shawnee Mission South District Stadium.

McFarland took a few steps left on the two-point conversion run before trying a quick cut up the middle.

“(The play) was working all night,” McFarland said. “They overloaded the left side, and I probably made a cutback a little too early, but they stuffed it pretty good.”

When the junior tried to make his burst, he was hit from the side by a defender. While struggling to get free, he was knocked back by two other Lancers.

After finally being knocked down, he extended the ball, only to see it was about 12 inches short of the goal line.

“We just didn’t seal up the backside enough to cut it that quickly,” FSHS coach Bob Lisher said. “If we sealed the backside, we’d have been OK.”

Shawnee Mission East (3-3) recovered the ensuing onside kick to run out the clock.

The only reason the Firebirds were in a position to tie it was because of a remarkable final possession.

Following a 65-yard Connor Rellihan punt, Free State took over at its own three-yard line trailing 14-6 with 1:04 left and no timeouts.

Immediately, McFarland went to work.

He completed consecutive passes to Ryan Patterson for 12 and 20 yards, then scrambled for seven yards and out of bounds to move it to the 42.

SM East was flagged for a 15-yard pass interference on the next play, and McFarland followed with another eight-yard scramble before getting hit late out of bounds. The 15-yard markoff moved the ball to the East 20 with 20.4 seconds left.

“Everyone started making plays,” McFarland said, “and our line was flushing defenders out and doing their job, so they were opening up holes for me to run.”

On the next play, McFarland eluded a tackle, then scrambled to his left, where he saw receiver Tye Hughes waving his arms in the end zone.

“I was just trying to get open — get in the end zone and get open,” Hughes said. “I knew Kyle was going to be rolling out, so I just tried to get open out there and make a play to keep us in the game.”

McFarland delivered an accurate throw, and Hughes cradled the 20-yard touchdown reception with 12.4 seconds left.

“We did it without any timeouts,” Lisher said. “That’s pretty good for a high school team. It really is — to go down there and keep your composure and have a chance to take it to overtime.”

Free State had to chase the final two points because of a missed extra point in the third quarter.

The Firebirds (4-2) also were haunted by three first-half turnovers, including two interceptions by McFarland.

“I was making really bad reads, and I was putting the ball where it didn’t need to be,” McFarland said. “Just not executing on passing.”

After trailing 14-0 at the half, Free State used an 18-play, 77-yard drive to pull within a score in the third quarter.

The possession — which featured 17 rushes and one pass — was capped by a McFarland six-yard TD run.

“We just had a game plan to run the ball,” Lisher said. “We had some pass plays called, but the passes weren’t working. The running plays were.”

Free State fell despite dominating statistically.

The Firebirds more than doubled the Lancers in first downs (25-12). Free State also easily outgained East (381-227).

McFarland had his third straight 100-yard rushing game, carrying it 29 times for 174 yards to lead the Firebirds.

Shawn Knighton added 23 rushes for 83 yards.

“It’s hard for me to feel good about a loss, because I hate to lose,” Lisher said, “but I feel like we played very well against a very good team.”


kujayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

SM East is not a good team. Didn't LHS beat them 31-0 last week?

kujayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

SM East is not a good team. Didn't LHS beat them 31-0 last week?

GreenINK47 6 years, 7 months ago

Sme had 11 starters hurt/suspended when they played lhs.

cato_the_elder 6 years, 7 months ago

That's complete BS. SME had a wide receiver who was suspended, their QB was out, and one running back was hurt during the game. No one on their defense was hurt, and LHS scored 31 on them with LHS's reserves playing most of the fourth quarter on offense.

Vaildini 6 years, 7 months ago

This might suprise you Cato, but you are wrong. SME was missing other kids do to drinking infraction. It doesn't excuse the fact that it sounds like Free State didn't come to play. And if it was a drinking infraction those kids didn't play against Free State either. But I do know by the looks of the pictures from the game, SME 6'5 220 WR who is going to Illinois for college played lastnight and I didn't see him at the LHS game.

GreenINK47 6 years, 7 months ago

Sorry for the short post earlier, not very good at typing on my cell phone. A Sme assistant is an old buddy of mine and thats the number i got from him and some of the sme parents last night. Could that be an exaggeration? of course, but if they are saying 11 im guessing its more than three. I did not go to the lhs vs sme game so i am not sure of the names of all the 22 sme starters vs lhs, but if you went to both games and remember them all and compared them to who played vs FS im impressed. And Vaildini, Cato already pointed that the WR didnt play in his earlier post.

Vaildini 6 years, 7 months ago

Green Ink- Cato said A WR. They had 3 out in the LHS game I believe. I was just stating that one of the WR who did comeback to play against Free State was the best one based on the ljworld pics

MISTERTibbs 6 years, 7 months ago

cato doesn't realize that most kids in high school in Kansas play both ways if they are good enough to play at all. That may not be the case in football factory states like Texas, Florida and Ohio.

FSHS was missing it's best offensive and defensive lineman. Think running behind Stanclift could have gotten McFarland that extra foot at the end?

I do hope that Charles is able to return by the first of the year for basketball. Ugly injury that the kid suffered, and definitely not the way to go through your senior year.

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