Firebirds rally from early deficit for 33-14 road win vs. Olathe South

photo by: Mike Shaw

Free State running back Dash Cleveland (2) celebrates a touchdown with teammates during the Firebirds' win over Olathe South on Friday, Oct. 8, 2021.

Olathe — The Free State High football team leaned on its run game and defense to pave the way for a 33-14 win over Olathe South Friday night at Olathe District Activity Center.

Led by senior quarterback Jet Dineen’s 163 rushing yards, the Firebirds (5-1) scored 26 unanswered points to recover from a 14-7 deficit and get their third win in a row.

“This was a good game for us to experience,” head coach Kevin Stewart said. “I didn’t think we were ready to play to start.”

With the matchup doubling as Olathe South’s (3-3) senior night, the Falcons wanted to come out strong early and they did just that in the first quarter. Though the Falcons were held to a three-and-out on their first drive, O-South soon after took advantage of a Free State fumble, and the Falcons found themselves in plus territory with a chance to take a lead early.

They used a trick play to secure the first score of the night with eight minutes remaining in the first quarter. It was senior receiver Erwin Nash who was on the receiving end of a 26-yard pass from junior Zane Hall after a double-pass play fooled the Firebirds’ defense and gave the home team an early 7-0 lead.

Free State did not let that celebration last long, however, as the Firebirds marched right down the field on their next drive, capped off by a 3-yard run by senior running back Dash Cleveland into the end zone.

O-South responded with a big run of its own by sophomore Bryce Noernberg after a beautiful spin move to make it 14-7 as the first quarter ended, with the Falcons out in front.

The second quarter belonged to the Firebirds, with the running abilities of Dineen and Cleveland leading the charge to score twice. Dineen and Cleveland rushed for more than 150 yards combined in the opening 24 minutes.

As he has done numerous times throughout this season, Dineen pulled off another long run for a score, this one coming from 44 yards out.After breaking a couple of tackles, Dineen used his blazing speed down the FSHS sideline to cut the Falcons’ lead to 14-13 with just under five minutes left in the second quarter.

Cleveland would give the Firebirds a five-point lead heading into halftime after scoring from 4 yards out.

Similar to how the first quarter opened, the third quarter started with another Free State fumble after what could have been a touchdown for the Firebirds. The lost fumble came at the 2-yard line of O-South after a 63-yard pass from Dineen to senior Jake Patchen.

The Firebirds, however, were not discouraged as on their next drive. Dineen let the ball fly yet again, this time resulting in a 53-yard reception for senior Jordan Brown.

Dineen would eventually cap off the drive with a 10-yard touchdown run on fourth down to give the Firebirds their largest lead of the night at 26-14.

The defenses would take over for the rest of the third quarter with Free State’s defense continuing to control the momentum and limiting big plays from the Falcons’ offense.

“I thought Grant (Gregory, a defensive back) had a great game, but it was really a team effort defensively,” Stewart said.

For the last score of the night, Dineen decided to use his arm for a change, finding Patchen from 11 yards out to put the icing on the cake and go up 33-14 with 5:38 left in the fourth quarter.

“We have a lot of mistakes we have to clean up and we have to get better,” Stewart said. “I’m proud of the guys for battling.”


Free State 33, O-South 14


First downs 14 | 11

Rushes-yards 42-270 | 38-211

Passing yards 155 | 60

Total offense 425 | 271

Fumbles-lost 2-2 | 1-1

Interceptions 0 | 0

Penalties-yards 2-12 | 3-30

Score by quarters

Olathe South 14 0 0 0 – 14

Free State 7 12 7 7 – 33

Individual statistics


OS: Blake Jouret 20-57; Bryce Noernberg 10-116; Zane Hall 3-10; Eli Alexander 2-0; Togi Tiafau 3-28

FS: Jet Dineen 15-163; Dash Cleveland 15-67; Tay Ware 12-40


OS: Bryce Noernberg 9-12-34; Zane Hall 1-1-26

FS: Jet Dineen 7-13-155


OS: Erwin Nash 3-26; Zane Hall; 3-12; Jordan Allen 1-11; Blake Jouret 2-9; Gavin McAferty 1-2

FS: Jake Patchen 4-86; Jordan Brown 1-53; Jerred Willits 1-9; Emmanuel Epelle 1-7


First quarter

7:56 – Erwin Nash 26 yard pass from Zane Hall. Dean Stotts kick good. (OS 7 FS 0)

3:45 – Dash Cleveland 3 yard run. Adam Coup kick good. (FS 7 OS 7)

51.3 – Bryce Noernberg 57 yard run. Stotts kick good. (OS 14 FS 7)

Second quarter

4:48 – Jet Dineen 44 yard run. Coup kick no good. (OS 14 FS 13)

1:23 – Cleveland 4 yard run. Two point conversion no good. (FS 19 OS 14)

Third quarter

4:23 – Dineen 10 yard run. Coup kick good. (FS 26 OS 14)

Fourth quarter

5:38 – Dineen 11 yard pass to Jake Patchen. Coup kick good. (FS 33 OS 14)


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