LHS, Free State football to face off twice this fall

photo by: Journal-World file photos

The Lawrence High and Free State football teams take the fields before games early in the 2016 season.

The Lawrence High and Free State football teams will get two cracks at each other this season, one at home and one away.

LHS will host Free State in Week 3 on Sept. 18, and the Firebirds will welcome the Lions to their place in Week 8 on Oct. 23, which was the regularly scheduled date of this year’s football city showdown.

“We wanted to move our game with each other up as early as we could,” LHS Athletic Director Nick Wood said Wednesday. “And we both had an opening in Week 3, so we went for it.

“It’s hard to find games right now, and that’s a quality matchup, and I think it will be a great experience for our student-athletes to have a home-and-home series against their crosstown rivals. It also should be a great experience for the community.”

In a letter posted to the Free State athletics website, Free State AD Amanda Faunce said the district was still working out details regarding attendance and transportation for all fall sports.

Faunce wrote that there “will be limitations related to those items” and noted that it’s possible that there could be a travel restriction of 90 miles put in place this fall.

“I hope to be able to share more specific information with you by the end of the week,” she added.

Athletic officials from both schools on Wednesday released a wide range of updates to their fall sports schedules, some set in stone and some pending.

Free State’s updated football schedule currently features six games and three TBA dates.

The Firebirds will play host to either Junction City or De Soto on Sept. 4 and will follow that up with home games against Lincoln Prep (Sept. 11) and LHS (Oct. 23).

The Firebirds’ current road schedule features games at LHS (Sept. 18), Lee’s Summit North (Sept. 25), Mill Valley (Oct. 2) and Bishop Carroll (Oct. 9).

Lawrence High’s home opener is set in stone, as the Lions will play host to Shawnee Heights on Sept. 4.

LHS is also currently scheduled to host Free State (Sept. 18), Mill Valley (Sept. 25) and Bishop Carroll (Oct. 2) while playing at Free State on Oct. 23.

Wood said LHS still has open dates for Week 2, Week 6 and Week 7, but added, “We’re going to do our best to fill this schedule and keep looking for opportunities for our kids to play.”

As for the other fall sports, Faunce wrote in her letter on the FSHS website that the matchups that appear on the schedule but have been crossed out have been canceled while those games appearing in green are currently on hold because either the host or visiting team is currently unable to participate because of their community’s gating criteria.

Several of those include Sunflower League schools in Johnson County, which, according to Faunce, are currently canceling or postponing games a week or two in advance.

“I am committed to rescheduling and/or finding new opponents for all of our sports as cancellations occur,” Faunce wrote. “As members of the Sunflower League, it is our duty to try and honor our league schedules as much as possible.”

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