LT — Scott Frantz, jr.
LG — Coleman Houk, jr.
C — Reid Buckingham, sr.
RG — Tyler Sampson, sr.
RT — Josiah LeBrun, jr.
QB — Joe Dineen, sr.
RB — Stan Skwarlo, sr.
TE — Zach Bickling, sr.
WR — Khadre Lane, sr.
WR — Lucas Werner, sr.
WR — Keith Loneker, sr.
DE — Khadre Lane, sr.
NT — Josiah LeBrun, jr.
DE — Zach Bickling, sr.
OLB — Stan Skwarlo, sr.
MLB — Lucas Werner, sr.
ILB — Keith Loneker, sr.
LB — Blake Winslow, sr.
OLB — Carson Bowen, jr.
CB — Joel Spain, jr.
CB — Bryce Torneden, so.
FS — Joe Dineen, sr.
Free State High football coach Bob Lisher has warned his players about their first district opponent, Kansas City (Kan.) Wyandotte. He doesn’t want Wyandotte’s 3-3 record to fool them.
Accordingly, when the Firebirds (5-1, ranked No. 2 in Class 6A by Kpreps.com) play at Wyandotte tonight — kickoff at 7 — the last thing they’ll be thinking about is how many games the district underdog has lost. Instead, they will be keenly aware of the Bulldogs’ athletic senior quarterback, Dimonic McKinzy, and his team’s explosive passing attack. McKinzy, who orally committed to play at the University of Minnesota, has helped his team average 43 points a game this season, compared to Free State’s 28.
“I think our kids respect them,” Lisher said, “because they’ve seen them on film, and they’ve seen their quarterback.”
Yes, Free State destroyed Wyandotte last season, 49-6. But McKinzy only completed 25 percent of his passes in the loss. Lisher doesn’t expect a repeat performance tonight.
“The big difference is they’re able to catch the ball and run with it this year,” the coach said, pointing to improvements from Wyandotte’s receiving corps. “Their completion percentage is way up there.”
In fact, Wyandotte has lived by the pass in McKinzy’s senior season. FSHS defensive coordinator Brett Oberzan estimated the Bulldogs call passing plays 80 percent of the time on offense.
Lisher said that means Free State’s defensive backs — senior free safety Joe Dineen, junior cornerback Joel Spain and sophomore corner Bryce Torneden — will be presented with a challenge.
“The last four weeks we’ve played some physical, run-at-you football teams,” Lisher said. “We have to switch gears.”
Dineen said the secondary is up for the change of pace provided by McKinzy.
“Obviously, he’s a good quarterback. He’s really accurate, and he can throw it long,” the safety said. “That’s always a threat. If we ‘D’ up on him, we should be OK.”
A victory tonight would be the 100th in Free State football history. Lisher, who has coached the Firebirds to all 99 of their wins in the team’s 17 seasons, said his team aims to go 3-0 and win a district championship so it can have a chance to be the No. 1 seed on the eastern side of the 6A playoffs bracket.
“It’s very important that we take care of business each and every week,” he said, “and if that happens, we’ll be able to host a first-round game."