High School Sports

High School Sports

Upset city: Shorthanded LHS ends Firebirds’ season

Lawrence High running back-turned-quarterback Tyrone Jenkins breaks loose against Free State on Friday, Oct. 28, 2011.

Lawrence High running back-turned-quarterback Tyrone Jenkins breaks loose against Free State on Friday, Oct. 28, 2011.

October 29, 2011


LHS vs. Free State

Firebirds left smarting

Lawrence High coach Dirk Wedd went to junior running back Tyrone Jenkins Saturday morning to give him a new challenge.

Someone had to replace the three quarterbacks who had gone down for the Lions the past couple of weeks. That someone was Jenkins.

“Yes sir,” Jenkins said to his coach. “I can do it.”

With a patchwork offense and slightly depleted defense, Jenkins helped lead LHS to a 20-0 victory against Free State High on Friday night.

It came on a night Olathe Northwest and Olathe North’s game had huge implications for the Lawrence teams’ playoff hopes.

If O-North won, then all LHS had to do was win at FSHS. If O-Northwest won, the Lions had to win by at least eight points. O-Northwest blew out O-North, 56-28. The Lions beat the eight-point spread and knocked the Firebirds out of playoff contention.

“They’re resilient,” Wedd said of his players. “The way they handle adversity is amazing.”

LHS (6-3) scored on its first possession, a 12-play, 44-yard drive, with a three-yard run by Jenkins. FSHS (6-3) didn’t have a first down when Lawrence’s Anthony Rosen kicked a 30-yard field goal in the second quarter. Surely, FSHS was going to make a run and stop LHS’s unexciting offense.

The Firebirds did neither.

The Lions’ offense was nothing like the open and explosive juggernaut that it has been for the majority of the season. Instead, Wedd relied heavily on his running backs and played more tight-end formations so Jenkins could do most of the pounding from the quarterback position. There weren’t many explosive plays, but the plan worked. He rushed 37 times for 122 yards. And he completed three of four passes.

There was one play that went more than 25 yards. Jenkins hooked up with Erick Mayo for a 68-yard touchdown, pushing the score to a 17-0 lead with a little more than 5:00 to go in the first half.

At that point, the eight-point lead was looking safe.

“We weren’t going to let up until the fourth quarter,” Mayo said.

Mayo also had two interceptions, one each off of Kyle McFarland and Joe Dineen. The Firebird quarterbacks had Lions draped on them almost every drop-back, with sophomore Drew Green and juniors Kharon Brown and Asaph Jewson having huge games.

The defense stifled the Firebirds, holding a team that averages almost 24 points per game to nothing.

Mayo wasn’t shocked.

“We’ve been a good defense all year,” he said. “The coaches put us in a great situation to win the game. We just went out and executed it tonight.”

The Lions only had two close calls, the first coming late in the third quarter. LHS junior Kharon Brown recovered a fumble by FSHS and got it just inside the Firebird two-yard line. But a situation that should have yielded points turned into a fumble the other way.

The second scare happened early in the fourth quarter when the Firebirds got their offense going, getting yards in chunks of 19, 15 and 9. They drove to the LHS 37-yard line and stalled. Rosen tacked on a 29-yard field goal the next Lion possession, and the Lions secured a bid to the state playoffs.

It seemed the only people not stunned at the outcome of this game were the players and coaches. The injuries to junior quarterback Brad Strauss, senior running back Charles Jackson, senior center Brady Murrish, junior receiver/ quarterback Drake Hofer and senior linebacker Jake Vinoverski for a few games, among others, were daunting.

But as Wedd said before the game, the Lions were going to figure something out.

Except no one was expecting this.

“You don’t sleep much,” Wedd said about dealing with injuries, “but we knew what we had, and we had a lot of confidence in our kids.”

Box score


Rushes-yards 22-20 47-158

Passing yards 41 94

Total offense 61 252

Return yards 21 10

Fumbles-lost 2-1 3-1

Penalties-yards 3-20 6-40

Score by quarters

Lawrence 7 10 0 3 — 20

Free State 0 0 0 0 — 0

Individual statistics


Free State: Joe Dineen 5-29, Shawn Knighton 4-7, Stan Skwarlo 1-4, Kyle McFarland 12-minus-20.

Lawrence: Tyrone Jenkins 37-122 TD, Jordan Brown 4-7, Erick Mayo 2-9, Isaiah Ross 4-20.


Free State: Joe Dineen 3-10-29 interception, Kyle McFarland 1-7-12 interception.

Lawrence: Tyrone Jenkins 3-4-94 TD.


Free State: Ryan Patterson 3-36, Tye Hughes 1-5.

Lawrence: Erick Mayo 1-68 TD, Garrett Cleavinger 1-20, Anthony Buffalomeat 1-6.

How they scored

First quarter

4:58 — Tyrone Jenkins 3 run. Anthony Rosen kick. (LHS 7, FSHS 0.)

Second quarter

7:52 — Anthony Rosen 30 field goal. (LHS 10, FSHS 0.)

5:19 — Erick Mayo 68 pass from Jenkins. Rosen kick. (LHS 17, FSHS 0.)

Fourth quarter

2:24 — Rosen 29 field goal. (LHS 20, FSHS 0.)


cato_the_elder 6 years, 6 months ago

Congratulations to all LHS players for a courageous, dominant win that was achieved in the midst of almost unthinkable adversity. While the Chesty Lion players deserve all the accolades one could give for their hard-nosed, fired-up play, this win also resulted from some of the most brilliant coaching in LHS football history. In what was in effect 3 1/2 days of practice, the LHS coaching staff put together a brand new offensive scheme that was completely different from anything the Lions had been doing all year, and on defense thoroughly diagnosed and destroyed their opponents' offensive game plan. Hats off to all football Lions both on and off the field, their parents, and to Coach Wedd and his exemplary coaching staff for achieving what had appeared to most observers to be a highly improbable feat a week ago as the result of injuries to key players. Best of luck in the playoffs - and always remember that it's a Great Day to be a Lion.

Jeanette Reiling 6 years, 6 months ago

Congratulations Lions players, coaching staff on a great game! It's always a great day to be a Lion!

rabbit 6 years, 6 months ago

Congratulation Free State for an outstanding season.

klauxman 6 years, 6 months ago

I'm so proud of these student athletes; they continue to impress in the classroom and on the field. Keep it up, Lions!

Clickker 6 years, 6 months ago

Brilliant coaching performance. That was basically all they could do short of putting in the unused Soph QB. And the D was tough. Tough.

BKRJMG 6 years, 6 months ago

I was embrassed to be a FS alum. FS was out coached and out performed. No emotion from the players at all. Congrats to LHS. You could really tell who has the better coaching staff last night.

FlintlockRifle 6 years, 6 months ago

BEAT EM LIONS, great game, fun game to watch

FreeStateParent 6 years, 6 months ago

Even though LHS played a great game, it was very disappointing to see the LHS football staff demonstrate lack of respect for the Free State Seniors by having the LHS football team run onto the field to interrupt the senior recognition program. These seniors and their parents deserve the recognition and it is in extreme poor taste to dishonor these boys and their families.

erina1323 6 years, 6 months ago

FS was suppose to be done with 3 minutes left. There is a rule. They were not done and LHS had to get on the field and get ready to play. That is your administrations fault with poor planning. Don't blame the lions.

Kari Columbus 6 years, 6 months ago

Well it was also in "poor taste" that last year FS students rushed the field before LHS players were done with the good game line, ran over our cheerleaders, and trashed the place! And I am sure we were told when to go out so talk to the people running the show!

kingt 6 years, 6 months ago

I'm so proud of you lil bro aka tyrone jenkins. And congrats to the whole team and coaching staff. Tyrae aka #10 wil always have faith in you guys.

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