Lions, Firebirds adjust again, add Olathe schools to football schedules
Story updated at 5:22 p.m. Monday
The Lawrence High and Free State football teams will not be playing each other twice this regular season after all.
In a scramble to fill their schedules after Sunflower League foes from the Olathe and Shawnee Mission school districts elected to postpone the 2020 football season to next spring, the Lions and Firebirds agreed to add another game with each other during the third week of the regular season, scheduled for Sept. 18.
However, roughly 24 hours before the season kicked off Friday night, the Olathe school board voted to overturn the district’s decision to postpone the fall sports seasons.
The move came after several parents and other supporters protested and even threatened lawsuits about the postponement. Blue Valley and Wichita schools also reversed their decisions last week.
The late change of plans left five Olathe high schools looking to fill out what was left of their 2020 football schedules at the last minute, and LHS and Free State both were willing helpers.
Lawrence High now will play at Olathe West at 7 p.m. on Sept. 18 and Free State will host Olathe North at 7 p.m. the same night.
The Lions were originally slated to open the season with Olathe East last week but instead scheduled Shawnee Heights and defeated the Thunderbirds 53-0 at LHS to kick off their season.
LHS, which will face Washburn Rural this Friday at home, also is now slated to host Olathe North in Week 7 on Oct. 16.
Free State’s upcoming game with Olathe North was part of the original schedule for both teams.
As of Monday, FSHS had not yet scheduled any other Olathe schools for the 2020 varsity football season.
The Firebirds opened the season with a 42-34 loss to De Soto at home last week and will look to bounce back Friday night versus Lincoln Prep at Free State.
However, at the very least, the Firebirds are expected to be without a number of players for the next two weeks.
The Lawrence school district announced Sunday that one Free State player had tested positive for COVID some time after attending practice Thursday. The student did not play in the Firebirds’ opener, but the health department recommended that one coach and 37 other players quarantine through Sept. 17.
The school’s football schedule “has not been affected,” the district said in announcing the quarantines Sunday. Free State Athletic Director Amanda Faunce clarified Monday that the Firebirds’ junior varsity game at De Soto scheduled for Tuesday had been cancelled but that no other changes to the schedule were necessary.
LHS and Free State are scheduled to square off Oct. 23 at Free State.