High School Sports

High School Sports

Coach likes Firebirds’ looks

Bob Lisher says FSHS football bigger, stronger, faster

Free State High football coach Bob Lisher watches over a drill on Thursday, June 7, 2012, the day before the Lions were to leave for three days of contact camp at Northwest Missouri State.

Free State High football coach Bob Lisher watches over a drill on Thursday, June 7, 2012, the day before the Lions were to leave for three days of contact camp at Northwest Missouri State.

June 10, 2012


When Free State High football coach Bob Lisher scanned the field at the Firebirds’ varsity camp this week, he noticed three common characteristics among his returning players.

They were bigger. They were stronger. And they were more comfortable on the field.

All were highly positive signs for FSHS as it prepped for its three-day weekend trip to Northwest Missouri State University, in Maryville, Mo., for a team camp.

Lisher said the experienced Firebirds played a bit faster than they did last fall.

“When you do that,” the coach said, “you’re a better football player.”

Free State’s core of returning varsity players includes six who received All-Sunflower League honors of one form or another: defensive back and quarterback Kyle McFarland, lineman Cody Stanclift, defensive back Joe Dineen, receiver Tye Hughes and linebackers Corban Schmidt and Blake Winslow.

Joining those players in more prominent roles, Lisher said, have been running back TJ Cobbs, linemen Reid Buckingham, Tyler Sampson and Fred Wyatt, receivers Sam Hearnen and Chris Heller and linebacker Keith Loneker.

Lisher liked the quick pace his veteran players established at camp due to their familiarity with the play-calling. Monday through Thursday served as a review for the many rising seniors and juniors who played on Friday nights last season.

“It’s like our spring football,” Lisher said of the four-day on-campus camp, noting the goals were to stay healthy and improve as a team.

Dineen said there were many positive signs at camp. Primarily, Free State’s experience showed.

“We look like we understand what we’re doing, the concepts of the plays and stuff,” Dineen said.

The idea of a bigger, stronger, more-confident bunch of Firebirds, McFarland added, is evident at all positions.

“We had kind of a small line last year, and now the players we have are a lot bigger,” McFarland said, noting Stanclift, Wyatt and others have led that group.

Lisher said Cobbs never missed a day of offseason strength or speed workouts and that was paying dividends for the senior.

Cobbs remained eager to show off his hard work at a more critical time.

“It’s good if you can lift a lot of weights,” he said, “but if you can’t perform well on the field on game night, it doesn’t really matter.”

For the underclassmen who haven’t experienced Friday-night pressure, Cobbs said camp week showed them how hard they will have to work to get on the field. Schmidt agreed and said the veterans told their young teammates they would have to jump in as often as possible during drills if they wanted to improve.

“They just have to pay attention for the most part,” Schmidt said. “The sooner you learn the plays, the more it just comes together with repetition.”

After going 6-3 in 2011 and having so many leaders back and playing at a higher level, Lisher said the next step is building upon the team’s offseason improvements this summer and carrying those over into the fall.

“If we do,” he said, “we’ll have a chance to be a decent, competitive football team.”

Team camp for FSHS at Northwest Missouri State began Friday and will continue through today.


Take_a_letter_Maria 6 years ago

And none of that will make any difference if their attitude doesn't change.

Lish stopped sending the kids to Dog Days last year because of the complaints he received about their lack of effort the previous year.

Hopefully the butt-kicking Lawrence High gave them last season when they thought they had the game and the district title in the bag just by showing up will be enough to wake up both the players and the coaching staff.

DeckDoctors 6 years ago

Butt kicking? Not hardly, a few breaks here and there can make the difference. LHS did a fine job and got a win, but the game could easily have gone the other way. Completely ridiculous comment made by an 'adult'? Free State has done better on the football field over the past several years than LHS, and since you don't know any of those kids who are you to judge their attitude? You haven't a clue as the work and effort Free State and the coaches there put into that program so your opinion means very little. I doubt you ever played organized sports and if you did you would know kids are not stupid and will invest in the things that really count. Dog Days is not the goal of teenage football players so it would be odd for them to get into hanging around aging has been complainers who think they have a right to decide if a kid is putting any effort into a community workout. Your misdirected anger towards teenagers is a little strange...

Take_a_letter_Maria 6 years ago

20-0 and outplayed in every phase of the game last fall = butt kicking.

The fact that you cannot recognize this, I will not even bother to read the rest of your drivel.

DeckDoctors 6 years ago

"And none of that will make any difference if their attitude doesn't change." You display an incredibly immature attitude in your posts and I'm glad that high school athletes don't have to suffer your sorry attitude or spend time around you when your huffing and puffing at Dog Days. The far superior program over the last 13 years is Free State if you are able to read go check the facts. A League Championship, 7 District Championships, 2 Regional Championships, 2 Sectional Championships, 1 Sub State Championship, and 1 State Runner Up. I think the kids at Free State and the coaches reflect a great work ethic and don't need aging near-do wells castigating them.

Vaildini 6 years ago

I think there coach stopped sending them to Dog Days because like LHS they do there own football workouts each morning. The coach was sending them to a certain amount of Dog Days each summer to keep the young men connected to the community. During those workouts, grown men and women thought they should question the effort of kids who were often there along with a football, baseball , and basketball workout. Once the adults made it into something it didnt need to be the coach made a good call. As for the butt kicking, if you went to the game you saw the better team win. The Free State team over achieved last year and it was interesting that they were ever favored to win that game. LHS was a very good team and with Big Tyrone running that Offense at QB, that might have put us in a better position to win that game. It was a better match up against that D. Great day to be a Lion.

Take_a_letter_Maria 6 years ago

So, did those workouts just start a couple of years ago then? No, it is just this group that has been told since they were 4th graders or younger that they were it. Instead of proving it and being leaders, they chose to believe what they had been told and think they were entitled to the admiration of those folks with whom they were gracing their presence. If it were such a hardship for these 16 and 17 year-olds to put in a little effort that would serve as a nice warm-up for their football activities Lisher would have pulled the plug years ago. He'd also keep the kids from attending now, but TJ Cobbs is still there every day putting forth the effort.

As for the better team winning last year, I agree. The better TEAM on that night won the game. They came out, busted Lisher's boys in the mouth, and didn't ever give them a chance to recover. If anything, both schools overachieved last year. The Lions took advantage of a better game plan and an overconfident opponent, and once they had that opponent reeling they didn't let up. That's the sign of a well prepared team. Something many on here would never admit about Dirk.

Take_a_letter_Maria 6 years ago

Agreed. I wish he would be a little more "forceful" and take more ownership of the team. They could certainly learn from his efforts.

DeckDoctors 6 years ago

Your goofy comments relating to teenage athletes are laughable! I applaud TJ's efforts to improve as a conditioned athlete, but I'm quite sure that he has gained insight and motivation from his coaches and teammates as he endeavors to play more time. Players don't become "forceful" and "take ownership" of a team. They work hard, learn their position lead by example and if they do well enough get playing time.

MISTERTibbs 6 years ago

It would appear that Maria has struck a nerve with the old DeckDoctor. He/she didn't say anything about the last 13 years, he said LAST year. Maybe DeckDoctor is the one that should learn how to read.

DeckDoctor, you are correct about learning, and improving and earning more playing time. From what I've seen of TJ at the gym he is doing just that (conditioning wise anyway). You do fail to realize though that a young person's confidence in their abilities can help them solidify their roles as leaders of the team, but if their work ethic doesn't match their confidence it can often have the wrong effect on the work of the rest of the team. If you've ever coached at all, even at the pee-wee level, you'd realize that there are some that will at least attempt to lead (no always by example) and I believe I'd like someone like TJ or the Stanclift kid be leading if my kids were still playing.

DeckDoctors 6 years ago

Yawn...all those words and you said nothing of about your friend Maria's bad attitude towards Free State players and coaches. Both of you are oblivious to your hypocrisy. Maria wants to denigrate teenage athletes who choose to not try and impress an aging near-do well. Dog Days was designed for aging, balding huffing and puffing elders of the community who want to impress those in attendance with the imagined prowess. You two arm chair quarterbacks. You both have your nose out of joint because high school athletes choose to not hang around petulant whiners but excel where it counts, on the field.

DeckDoctors 6 years ago

PS. Mister Tibbs you questioned my ability to read? Please dust your monocle off and read Maria's denigration of a group of kids with his words- "No, it is just this group that has been told since they were 4th graders or younger that they were it. Instead of proving it and being leaders, they chose to believe what they had been told and think they were entitled to the admiration of those folks with whom they were gracing their presence."

This is the nerve that was struck, when a whining adult broad strokes a group of hard working kids and their coaches with such callousness as he did, and you defended him? The old crustys in the sports world need to back off until they have accomplished anything in the sports world in the last 30 years.

Take_a_letter_Maria 6 years ago

Bad attitude because I pointed out the team got thumped by their cross-town rivals because they took said rivals lightly? Because they felt like their 13 years of being the "far superior program" and the fact that the best player (maybe even best 2 players) from said rival were out meant a cakewalk?

OK, guilty as charged.

Of course your lack of understanding the history of Dog Days only rivals your lack of football acumen, but just so you know my nose isn't out of joint because they don't attend because I myself don't attend. I happen to know Bob and Obie, along with Jesse, and they all were embarrassed about the reports they were receiving from Red Dog himself.

As far as the name calling, thank you. I enjoy being a near-do well since that would mean I am at least close to accomplishing something good. If you want to insult me, you should at least try to get the insult correct, but given the reading & understanding skills you've exhibited so far, you won't figure that one out either.

Thank you Mister Tibbs for trying to explain to this person what he has obviously missed, but there is no explaining anything to what has to be a parent angry about having to face the truth about his kid.

Vaildini 6 years ago

1st Maria the Free State senior class from last year havent been told they were the greatest since they were 4th graders. They have always been a small class? 2nd, Dog Days has always been a great community program for the general population and was made by Red Dog back in the day so football players could maintain so they wouldn't get hurt when workouts started. Nowadays, players try to get better in the summer not just maintain. Does Coach Wedd use Dog Days? That's where it started. So is Brad Strauss a slacker because he doesn't do Dog Days. Of course not. Your right TJ is a good kid and will have a great chance to step up and be a leader. Lets see how it works out. But to say those kids don't work hard is laughable. It just shows your ignorance.

Take_a_letter_Maria 6 years ago

!st Vaildini I never mentioned last year's Senior class, in fact FS was quite light on Seniors last year.

2nd Coach Wedd did not start Dog Days, and for what it is worth Don had been down on the LHS program for pulling out of the program unexpectedly after 20 years of effort on his part.

3rd I never said anyone was a slacker because they didn't do Dog Days and I never said they didn't work hard - just that the reports from Red Dog was they weren't putting forth effort at Dog Days.

Your lack of comprehending the written word shows your ignorance. Better go visit your English teacher this fall and make sure you aren't in a level that is above your capabilities.

Vaildini 6 years ago

1st Maria the Free State players haven't done Dog Days for the last 2 summers which means most of these guys on this team haven't done or were underclassman so you must have a "personal issue" with the kids who have been told they are it since 4th grade.

2nd I didnt say Coach Wedd started Dog Days. Read above and sharpen your own reading comp. No need to call your English teacher for help, I'm here for you.

3rd you said "If it were such a hardship for these 16 and 17 year-olds to put in a little effort that would serve as a nice warm-up for their football activities Lisher would have pulled the plug years ago. He'd also keep the kids from attending now, but TJ Cobbs is still there every day putting forth the effort." Your saying they are not putting forth effort like T.J. read it's right there. So thanks for helping me with MY ignorance. haha good stuff. continue to grind your axe. It is obvious you know nothing about this besides what the Red Dog clan says about kids who do extra work over the summer to get a bit better at there sport. Which is exactly why Free State left and why LHS never stayed. You can't get ready to play ball training next to a women pushing a stroller. Hopefully this will all work for TJ and he can start his whole senior season.

Take_a_letter_Maria 6 years ago

If you are referrring to this summer and last summer, you are correct. The last two summers the team has not been required to participate. I've got no personal issues with anyone but I do take offense to anyone feeling entitled to anything.

"Does Coach Wedd use Dog Days? That's where it started." My reading skills are sharper than yours. Yes, I know it is a little bit of a stretch and that you have a better grasp of Dog Days history than DeckDoctor, but this is less of a stretch than your third point.

Finally, you highlighted it yourself, but show me again where I am calling them slackers or lazy again please? I'm simply pointing out an athlete I have witnessed working harder than his teammates and that if it were a hardship for them then it the coach would bar them from attending. This is still an option to them though and at least one player is still taking advantage of this option and working harder, I will agree with you on your very last sentence though, because like Tibbs I've seen this kid working his rear-end off at LAC while the high school lifting program was in hiatus. I hope TJ starts and has an excellent season.

Vaildini 6 years ago

Yes does Coach Wedd use Dog Days, that's where it started. YES! Thats where it started. Red started it for LHS football players. Go talk to the man himself. haha

We will try this 1 more time for the slow, "If it were such a hardship for these 16 and 17 year-olds to put in a little effort " So my question is what are they if they are not putting in this effort you speak of. And I hope TJ starts and does well too. It is his senior year and though many start before that it would be nice for this to pay off for him.

hail2oldku 6 years ago

You are both taking things out of context.

I read this (if it were blah-blah), in the original post and combined with the other posts along the lines of - the coach is requiring you to attend (which he did two summers ago) so you shouldn't be screwing around or cutting the workout short (which many of them did). You are after all representing your school and to a lesser extent community.

Maria took your (does Wedd, that's where it started) and went literal with it, though he/she recognize that he/she knew you were aware of the history of the Dog Days program. Of course, from your post you don't seem to understand the he/she understands and knows the history of Dog Days too.

You're both reading things into posts that I don't believe are there. JMHO

Take_a_letter_Maria 6 years ago

Fair enough, and pretty good explanation.

I should have stopped instead of replying to DeckDoctor.

Vaildini had some good points, I just allowed DeckDoctor's stupidity get to me and I shouldn't have.

DeckDoctors 6 years ago

My stupidity? You are the adult, (maybe) who thought it was his role to denigrate teen athletes. You made a fool of yourself and now you want to pretend your wise...you messed up again.

MISTERTibbs 6 years ago

Nope, the stupidity continues.

Someone pointing out that some kids aren't working as hard as they could be is an honest observation. I've enjoyed watching lots of youth sports in this town since I retired. It will be interesting to see how these kids handle the adversity of not winning "everything" like they have in the past. That will be an indication of whether they've put in the additional work or if they're living on past laurels.

Vaildini 6 years ago

yeah Hail, the coach use to train the kids on his own in weights and conditioning each day. Then he had them go to Dog Days to support Red and get them in the community. The work out itself wasn't a big part of it because the kids already worked out and a majority couldn't handle great effort at Dog Days without losing weight for football. The problem was some of the adults didn't understand the total situation and felt like they needed to say something to the kids.

Vaildini 6 years ago

Now before you get all excited when taking about it starting I am meaning for LHS football and not Dirk specifically. I do realize Wedd wasn't the coach there when it started. I'm talking about Dog Days being started for LHS football and being a longtime tradition for LHS football players. That should make it easy to follow.

boxers_or_briefs 6 years ago

Smack talk about two average high school football teams??? Wow! Let the kids be kids.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.