High School Sports

High School Sports

Firebirds teammates linked by a common present, past

Free State teammates Joe Dineen (12) and Kyle McFarland (15) share more than just their positions on the football field — quarterback and defensive back. The two Firebirds also have a common link to the past — both their grandfathers played at Kansas University.

Free State teammates Joe Dineen (12) and Kyle McFarland (15) share more than just their positions on the football field — quarterback and defensive back. The two Firebirds also have a common link to the past — both their grandfathers played at Kansas University.

August 15, 2012

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They both play quarterback. Each has received all-league recognition as a defensive back. But Free State High teammates Joe Dineen and Kyle McFarland have even more in common.

Football runs in their blood.

Decades before they put on green and white and became Firebirds teammates, each had a grandfather in crimson and blue making plays on the gridiron for Kansas University. Kyle’s grandpa, John McFarland, played quarterback for the Jayhawks from 1953-55. From 1962-64, Dineen’s granddad, Ron Oelschlager, played running back and defensive back for KU.

Learning about their family heritage didn’t have quite the impact at a young age that it does now. Kyle is a senior, Dineen a junior, and they realize playing in one of the country’s top college football conferences (the Big Seven and Big Eight in those days) put their grandfathers in select company.

“Once I got older,” Kyle said, “I realized that it was pretty cool that he did.”

John died of cancer in 2009, but his son Scott said before that John never thought about pushing Kyle to follow in his footsteps. Once Kyle got involved in football, though, John loved keeping up with his grandson’s games, either watching them in person or seeing them on video.

“I think Dad took a lot of pride,” Scott said, “in watching him grow up and handle himself as far as being a quarterback.”

Oelschlager has watched Dineen play football since he was very young, but admitted it would be a fib for him to say he could see football in his grandson’s future from the beginning.

“About his fifth- or sixth-grade year, he started making some plays,” Oelschlager said. “He was playing quarterback and all of the sudden you’re standing there and saying, ‘You know what? He can throw the ball a little bit.’ And he had some pretty good speed.”

Dineen learned a lot of football intangibles from his grandfather — “You’ve gotta be tough, you’ve gotta be persistent, you’ve gotta stay at it,” he shared. While both are known for their speed (Oelschlager often tells Dineen he was faster), the grandfather claims his genes weren’t passed down to Dineen.

“Heck, I’m 5-10 and he’s 6-2,” Oelschlager said, adding that Dineen’s mother, Jodi, who played volleyball at KU, probably had more of an impact in that regard.

Scott, on the other hand, has a different theory on Kyle’s lineage. Scott wrestled and swam in high school, and likes to joke that athleticism skips a generation in the McFarland clan. Considering Kyle (6-foot-3) and John (6-4) both ended up playing QB, the grandson agrees.

“Some of it’s gotta be coming from him,” Kyle said.

FSHS football coach Bob Lisher thinks coming from a football family helped Dineen and McFarland.

“They’re both playmakers,” Lisher said. “It’s like they’ve been around it, they’ve seen it, they know it, they’ve played it for a long time. If they have that heritage in their background, it’s just gonna help make it that much easier for them to be players.”

Both will start as defensive backs for Free State this season, and their coach said both could play quarterback, too. McFarland enters the year as the returning starter, and Lisher said Dineen will be used at different positions, including QB.

You won’t hear McFarland complaining.

“He’s definitely gonna be a starter next year,” the senior said of Dineen, “so he’s gonna need reps in games. I mean, he could come in this year and do perfectly fine.”

The Firebirds with KU bloodlines, Dineen added, are comparable signal-callers, too.

“It’s a lot like last year. We’ll just see how it goes,” Dineen said. “It’s gonna be a fun year. He’s a good quarterback, and I feel like I’m doing pretty good this year, also.”

Comments

thebigspoon 2 years, 10 months ago

Is this the reason Dineen is allowed to go to Free State instead of Lawrence high ? He lives in the Lawrence high side of the boundary...

kujayhawk 2 years, 10 months ago

Why shouldn't the kid be able to go to FSHS? Isn't that where all his SW middle school friends ended up going to school? Isn't FSHS closer to his home than LHS? FSHS is nowhere near capacity, so that's not an issue. Why should he be penalized by a school board that is more concerned with being politically correct than it is with doing the right thing for the students?

Clickker 2 years, 10 months ago

Agree..the boundry issue is screwed up, with kids living less than a mile from FS having to drive 5 to LHS, and vice versa. But, everyone else seems to be living by the rules ( mostly) and honestly, his athletic career would have been just fine at LHS.

not_that_crazy 2 years, 10 months ago

but he wouldn't have played quarterback....

Clickker 2 years, 10 months ago

He would have next year. Plus in Baseball he would have gone to the state championship tourney a few more times

thebigspoon 2 years, 10 months ago

Because the boundary is 15th street. North of that goes to Free State and South of that goes to Lawrence High. All the West kids go to Free State. All the South kids go to Lawrence high. About half the Southwest and Central kids go to each one so I don't think that all his friends go to Free State. Who cares about rather or not all his friends go there or not ? If Lawrence isn't going to enforce the boundary situation then they might as well have open enrollment like Olathe does. Same old BS about not what you know but who you know...

kujayhawk 2 years, 10 months ago

"Who cares about rather or not all his friends go there or not." Seriously? The easy and smart thing to do would be to send two middle schools to LHS and the other two to FSHS so you wouldn't have this problem. Originally when they split the high school they said it was about opportunities for the kids and not about athletics. Let's take their advice and quit making this about athletics.

3up3down 2 years, 10 months ago

Dineen saw the writing on the wall at LHS. He would not touch the ball at all with the current QB there.

kujayhawk 2 years, 10 months ago

Strauss is a good high school quarterback, but there is a reason no college wants him at QB.

Geetus 2 years, 10 months ago

How about getting some Geetus and doing the right thing no matter what side of 15th they live on. It is important for young men to be challenged to grow. Go boys and bring football back to Lawrence.

Clickker 2 years, 10 months ago

Like I commented above, "He would have (played QB) next year. Plus in Baseball he would have gone to the state championship tourney a few more times"

And before everyone throws too many stones, I think the starting point guard on LHS BB for the next three years lives north of 15th....his pop just wouldnt let him play for Law.

Clickker 2 years, 10 months ago

"Strauss is a good high school quarterback, but there is a reason no college wants him at QB."

I would say he is more than a "good high school quarterback".....lets see, Sunflower league offensive player of the year (as a JUNIOR), All 6A, Simone candidate......you're not really being honest Kujayhawk.

And of course there is a reason no D1 college wants him as QB, he doesnt really have the measurables, doesnt have the size. But he will play in college at some position...too good of an athlete.

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