Free State football cruises past Shawnee Mission North, 49-6

photo by: Carter Gaskins/Special to the Journal-World

Free State's Wesley Edison (7) looks for a receiver Friday, Sept. 29, 2023, at Shawnee Mission South High School.

In its last road game of the regular season, Free State football kept its record a perfect 6-0 on Friday night by beating Shawnee Mission North 49-6.

The Firebirds, who now only have two home games left on their regular-season schedule, took a 14-0 lead at the end of the first quarter. Their foes, the Bison (1-5), could not keep up with quarterback Wesley Edison, who posted seven touchdowns and 250 yards of total offense, and Free State’s improvements on defense helped limit their foes to just one score.

“Overall they played a lot better this week,” FSHS coach Kevin Stewart said. “The defense definitely stepped up and we have to have that effort every game from here on out. We have to have that performance every single time.”

The Bison controlled the first few minutes of the game, taking nearly six minutes off the clock on the game’s first drive. However, a fourth-down stop by the Free State defense ended the drive early, and it only took three plays for the Firebirds to punch it in from there. Edison found a hole in front of the Shawnee Mission North sideline and ran it in from 30 yards out to give the Firebirds their first score of the night with 6:25 left in the first quarter.

The Bison punted on their next drive, and Edison found Grant Lincoln for a 19-yard reception on the Firebirds’ next series before finishing the drive off with a 1-yard score to pad the Firebirds’ lead to 14-0.

Just over two minutes into the second quarter, Edison had his third rushing touchdown of the first half. He hurdled a defender and proceeded to break several tackles to march into the end zone once again. The 15-yard run pushed Free State’s lead to 21 with 9:58 left in the first half.

Shawnee Mission North, however, responded roughly five minutes later, following several long passes from Alex Casares to Jourden White and a long run from Judah Jones. The drive was capped by a 3-yard score from Jeremiah Looney, cutting the deficit to 21-6 with 4:26 remaining in the second quarter.

Edison and the Firebirds drove down the field once more before halftime, and after receptions from Bralin Preston, Devon Hamilton and Landon Leipold, Edison found another gap by the Free State sideline and took it in for his fourth rushing touchdown of the first half. The 21-yard score put the visitors’ lead at a commanding 28-6 going into halftime.

“I trust all of my blockers,” Edison said. “This week we had a big emphasis for the offense to score points. We were focused all week in practice.”

To start the second half, Edison picked up where he left off, finding Preston for a 41-yard catch on the first drive. Edison then took it in from 5 yards out to record his fifth rushing touchdown of the night less than a minute into the third quarter.

Now up 35-6, the Firebirds continued to put pressure on the SM North offense, forcing a turnover on downs on the Bison’s next drive after several Firebird defenders converged on Jones. When the offense came back on the field, Edison went on to throw his first passing touchdown of the night, a 12-yard pass to Hamilton that pushed the lead to 42-6 with 8:48 left in the third quarter.

After a fumble on the ensuing punt for Shawnee Mission North, Free State needed just one play to extend the lead even more. Edison recorded his seventh total touchdown with a 13-yard pass to Liam Stramberg, making the score 49-6 midway through the third period.

The Bison ran the rest of the third quarter out on their next drive, which would end after the Free State defense forced a fourth-and-goal incompletion from Casares to hand position back to Free state early in the final quarter. From there, both sides went scoreless for the rest of the game.

It’s now on to the City Showdown for the Firebirds who will head back home for the first time since week 4 to take on their crosstown rival Lawrence High. Kickoff is 7 p.m. next Friday at Free State High School.

“I know Lawrence High will be well prepared,” Stewart said. “We have to control what we can control. I’m excited to see what the City Showdown is like with fans at Free State since the last two years it’s been at LHS. That should be a lot of fun for me personally and we’ll be excited.”


Free State 49, Shawnee Mission North 6


First downs 10 | 11

Rushes-yards 22-207 | 48-169

Passing yards 126 | 102

Total offense 333 | 271

Fumbles-lost 0-0 | 1-1

Interceptions 0 | 0

Penalties-yards 3-20 | 6-50

Score by quarters

Free State 14 14 21 0 – 49

Shawnee Mission North 0 6 0 0 – 6


1st Quarter:

06:25 – Wesley Edison 30 yard run. Yusef Iskandrani kick good. (FS 7 SMN 0)

01:58 – Edison 1 yard run. Iskandrani kick good. (FS 14 SMN 0)

2nd Quarter:

09:58 – Edison 15 yard run. Iskandrani kick good. (FS 21 SMN 0)

04:26 – Jeremiah Looney 3 yard run. Aiden Wiegers kick no good. (FS 21 SMN 6)

02:53 – Edison 21 yard run. Iskandrani kick good. (FS 28 SMN 6)

3rd Quarter:

11:06 – Edison 5 yard run. Iskandrani kick good. (FS 35 SMN 6)

08:48 – Devon Hamilton 12 yard pass from Edison. Iskandrani kick good. (FS 42 SMN 6)

06:26 – Liam Stramberg 13 yard pass from Edison. Iskandrani kick good. (FS 49 SMN 6)

Individual statistics


FS: Wesley Edison 9-115; Ryan Weishaar 6-26; Grant Lincoln 5-64; Antario Lattimore-Douglas 1-(-1); Zane Shaw 1-3

SMN: Judah Jones 19-77; Alex Casares 17-34; Jeremiah Looney 6-50; Jourden White 1-0; Garry Billings 4-6; Marcus Pressler III 1-2


FS: Wesley Edison 8-12-126;

SMN: Alex Casares 7-11-202; Garry Billings 0-2-0


FS: Bralin Preston 2-59; Devon Hamilton 2-20; Liam Stramberg 1-13; Landon Leipold 2-15; Grant Lincoln 1-19

SMN: Jeremiah Looney 2-32; Jourden White 5-70


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