O-North defense keeps Firebirds in check in FSHS football’s 1st loss

Free State senior running back Dash Cleveland is stopped against Olathe North Friday, Sept. 17, 2021. (Chance Parker/Special to the Journal-World)

Olathe — The Free State High football team could not get key scores when needed Friday night, as the Firebirds suffered their first loss of the season to Olathe North, 21-7, at the Olathe District Activity Complex.

The Firebirds (2-1) only racked up 240 yards of offense while the Eagles (3-0) controlled the pace offensively with 409 yards.

Despite the loss, senior receiver Jordan Brown of Free State had himself a night, catching eight passes for 95 yards. Although he did not find the end zone, Brown was a threat, keeping the Eagles defensive backs guessing and using his size to his advantage.

Head Coach Kevin Stewart was impressed by Brown and thinks this is just the beginning for one of his senior receivers.

“I think Jordan is going to be a big player for us moving forward,” Stewart said. “He showed he can make some plays. Once he and Jet Dineen get on the same page they’re going to be that much better.”

In the first half, it was the defenses that controlled the pace of the game, as both teams were unsuccessful finding the end zone for the majority of the first two quarters.

Olathe North did have more total yards by a sizable amount, as the Eagles put up 211 yards compared to Free State’s 71.

However, the one score of the opening 24 minutes belonged to senior Jacob Parrish of the Eagles, who ran it in from 11 yards out on fourth-and-five to give the Eagles a 7-0 lead with 10:34 left in the second.

On the run, Parrish found an opening through the middle and leaned on his speed to take him the rest of the way, giving the home crowd something to cheer about.

Senior quarterback Noah Palmer led the way for the Eagles’ offense, throwing for 158 yards on nine passes, with six of those going to senior receiver and running back Parrish.

It was a different story for Free State senior quarterback Jet Dineen. Despite going 5-for-6, Dineen only threw for 40 yards in the first half. Four of those passes went to Brown, who had four catches for 35 yards in the first half. The one incomplete pass resulted in an interception to Jason Parrish, which concluded the first half for the Firebird offense.

The second half was a different story offensively, with both teams finding their ways down the field in stretches.

Free State came out of the second half gate fired up and marched right down the field, led by Dineen. The FSHS QB ran it in from one yard out to tie the game at 7. That came after Dineen took off down the sideline for 35 yards, only to get pulled down at the one-yard line.

From there, however, it was the Eagles who controlled the tempo the rest of the way. Whether it was crucial fourth-down stops or getting big third-down conversions, Olathe North made plays when it ultimately counted most.

Free State also suffered an injury as Dineen went down in the second half when the Firebirds started to get momentum.

“We just didn’t quite have enough offensively once Jet got injured,” Stewart said.

Palmer ran it in from two yards out to make it 13-7 after getting big completions to Jacob Parrish to set up the goal-to-go opportunity.

Then, on the first play of the fourth quarter, Jacob Parrish took off down the far sideline for a 33-yard score to give the Eagles a much needed cushion at 21-7.

Free State offensively then struggled to get first downs, as they got stopped on multiple fourth downs, giving momentum to the Eagles crowd and players.

“The good thing about playing a good team is you get to see your mistakes,” Stewart said. “I think there’ll be a lot of things we learn from this game. It’s not a moral victory but at the same time it’s a measuring stick.”

GAME STATS

Olathe North 21, Free State 7

FS | ON

First downs 12 | 13

Rushes-yards 33-137 | 35-164

Passing yards 103 | 245

Total offense 240 | 409

Fumbles-lost 1-1 | 0-0

Interceptions 1 | 0

Penalties-yards 2-10| 12-129

Score by quarters

Free State 0 0 7 0 — 7

Olathe North 0 7 6 8 — 21

Individual statistics

Rushing

ON: Jacob Parrish 11-73; Noah Palmer 14-63; Aquantez Love 8-25; Jason Scoma 2-3

FS: Jet Dineen 13-69; Dash Cleveland 15-52; Tay Ware 4-10; Jake Patchen 1-6

Passing

ON: Noah Palmer 12-17-248

FS: Jet Dineen 9-17-103

Receiving

ON: Jacob Parrish 8-185; Jamal Pratt 2-20; Jason Scoma 2-43

FS: Jordan Brown 8-95; Jake Patchen 1-8

HOW THEY SCORED

Second quarter

10:34 – Jacob Parrish 11 yard run. Jason Scoma kick good. (ON 7 FS 0)

Third quarter

8:24 – Jet Dineen 1 yard run. Adam Coup kick good. (ON 7 FS 7)

3:30 – Noah Palmer 2 yard run. Scoma kick no good. (ON 13 FS 7)

Fourth quarter

11:50 – Parrish 33 yard run. Aquantez Love two point conversion good. (ON 21 FS 7)

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