Running backs make FSHS go

Opposing defenses know they need to limit Free State High quarterback Bryce Torneden to be successful against the Firebirds’ offense. Stopping all of Free State’s running backs is a different matter.

The Firebirds used three running backs last week: seniors Carson Bowen and Joe Lane and junior Khaury El-Amin. All three can make a big impact in any given game, and they’re hoping to show that against Leavenworth at 7 tonight at FSHS.

“All three have speed,” Free State coach Bob Lisher said. “They’re pretty quick kids. Carson is a little more shifty. Joe is a little more of a power runner. Khaury is the power runner — he’s got some shiftiness, but he’s hard to bring down with some arm tackles, I know that.”

Bowen has run for 80 yards on 22 attempts, Lane has added 36 yards on 16 carries with a touchdown, and El-Amin ran for a touchdown and 103 yards on 13 carries against Lawrence High in his varsity debut last Friday. The Firebirds also have sophomore Zion Bowlin, who starts at linebacker but has proved himself in practice to be a capable back if needed.

Bowen, who has started each game in the backfield, understands the importance of having multiple running backs without a drop-off in production.

“I love it,” Bowen said. “I’m a defensive player, too, so I need my breaks. It’s real nice being able to come off the field and know that just the same talent is going into.”

There are a few differences in running styles, as Bowen prefers to lower his shoulders once he hits the hole and pick up a few yards.

“We’re all fast,” Lane said. “Khaury is more of a power (running back). He’s so big, he breaks more tackles and stuff. I just have a lot of speed.”

Bowen said of Lane: “Joe is a speed guy. If he gets outside, there’s no one is touching him.”

With all of their different styles mixed with a lot of speed, all of Free State’s running backs are confident that any of them can break through in any game.

“It’s going to be one of us,” Bowen said. “One of us is going to have a pop-off game every game, I feel like.”

FSHS probable starters


LT — Scott Frantz, sr.

LG — Shane Hofer, sr.

C — Coleman Houk, sr.

RG — Josiah LeBrun, sr.

RT — Tanner Liba, jr.

QB — Bryce Torneden, jr.

RB — Carson Bowen, sr.

H — Joel Spain, sr.

WR — Tye Carter, sr.

WR — Andrew Keating, sr.

TE — Blake Murray, sr.

K — Joel Spain, sr.

P — Tye Carter, sr.


DE — Blake Murray, sr.

NG — Michael Georgie, sr.

DE — Shane Hofer, sr.

OLB — Drew Tochtrop, jr.

MLB — Jay Dineen, so.

LB — Paul Bittinger, jr.

LB — Zion Bowlin, so.

OLB — Carson Bowen, sr.

CB — Andrew Keating, sr.

CB — Joel Spain, sr.

FS — Bryce Torneden jr.