Firebirds fall to Olathe Northwest, 28-14, in Week 2 clash at FSHS

photo by: Emma Pravecek

Free State's defensive line prepares for the next play during the game against Olathe Northwest on Friday, Sept. 9, 2022.

The Free State High football team dropped its second game of the season, 28-14, to Olathe Northwest on Friday night at FSHS. The Firebirds had trouble containing the rushing attack of the Ravens, which was led by Eric Butler with 127 yards and a touchdown on the ground.

The Firebirds did produce some good performances. Running back Tay Ware, who ran for 146 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Wesley Edison threw for 157 yards and a touchdown while running for 84 yards.

“We played better than last week so that’s a start,” Free State coach Kevin Stewart said. “I guess we’re just going to be a team that gets better every week because obviously, we’re not a very good football team right now. But if we played better than last week, I guess we can take that away.”

The Firebirds (0-2) got off to a quick start with Edison and Ware leading a fierce rushing attack on a six-play, 71-yard drive capped off by a 38-yard touchdown run from Ware to put Free State in front 7-0.

Despite two pre-snap penalties before the Ravens took their first offensive snap, the Firebirds defense held firm on its first series and forced O-Northwest to punt. Despite driving into Ravens territory, Free State’s drive stalled and the Firebirds eventually missed a 40-yard field goal attempt, giving the ball back to the Ravens.

O-Northwest found a groove in its second offensive series with Butler leading the charge. Butler recorded the first touchdown for the Ravens on a 1-yard touchdown run to even the game at seven apiece.

Despite a promising start to their next offensive series, the Firebirds hurt themselves with multiple penalties that eventually led to a turnover on downs after a failed fourth-down attempt. However, the Free State defense picked up the slack and forced the Ravens into a three-and-out and a forced punt.

On its next offensive series, Free State couldn’t recover from an early 8-yard loss on a run by Ware. And despite a 13-yard completion from Edison to Cortez Overstreet, the Firebirds were forced to punt after a three-and-out.

The Ravens’ run game began to overwhelm the Firebird defense on their last drive of the first half. After driving down to the Free State 1-yard line, a QB sneak from Merak Greinert finished off the scoring drive to put the Ravens up 14-7 heading into halftime.

O-Northwest received the second half and looked to continue with momentum from the first half, but the Firebird defense had the answer and forced a punt. On their first offensive series of the half, though, Free State fumbled the ball and gave possession back to the Ravens.

They took advantage of the turnover, and Ravens running back Max Keller punched home a 7-yard touchdown run just a few plays later to put O-Northwest up 21-7.

Free State felt a sense of urgency heading into the fourth quarter and appeared keen to score, but two straight bad snaps backed up the Firebirds. Despite a 25-yard run from Edison to bring the fourth down to a manageable 9-yards, he threw an interception on the next play to give the ball back to O-Northwest.

The Ravens used the clock to their advantage from then on and took precious seconds away from Free State. Although Free State would drive down into the red zone, an interception and long run back put the Ravens at the Free State 4-yard line with little time left.

The Ravens ran in a 4-yard touchdown and all but ended the game there. But, the Firebirds kept fighting and in only two plays, Edison launched a 63-yard pass touchdown to Devon Hamilton to bring the score to 28-14.

“It’s a good play at the end,” Stewart said after the loss. “But if they want to win football games practice is where they’re gonna have to try harder.”


Olathe Northwest 0 14 7 7- 28

Free State 7 0 0 7 – 14



9:52 – Free State touchdown: Ware 38 run. Coup kick is good. (O-Northwest 0, Free State 7)


10:58 – O-Northwest touchdown: Butler 1 run. Langstraat kick is good. (O-Northwest 7, Free State 7)

0:17 – O-Northwest touchdown: Greinert 1 run. Langstraat kick is good. (O-Northwest 14, Free State 7)


1:44 – O-Northwest touchdown: Keller 7 run. Langstraat kick is good. (O-Northwest 21, Free State 7)


1:37 – O-Northwest touchdown: Ware 4 run. Langstraat kick is good. (O-Northwest 28, Free State 7)

1:04 – Free State touchdown: Edison 63 yard pass, Hamilton reception. Coup kick is good. (O-Northwest, Free State 14)

O-Northwest | Free State

First downs: 15 | 13

Rushing yards: 234 | 230

Passing yards 16 | 157

Total offense 250 | 387

Fumbles 0 | 1

Interceptions 0 | 2

Penalty yards 55 | 55


Passing: Free State – Wesley Edison 7-13, 157; O-Northwest – Ryan Kawaoka 3-5, 16, Merak Greinhert 0-1, 0

Rushing: Free State – Tay Ware 17-146, Wesley Edison 19-84; O-Northwest – Eric Butler 22-127, Max Keller 9-55, Ryan Kawaoka 6-53, Merak Greinhert 4- -1

Receiving: Free State – Devon Hamilton 1-63, Colton Berger 3-49, Bralin Preston 1-16, Josiah Moss 1-16, Cortez Overstreet 1-13; O-Northwest – Micah Geary 1-1, Max Keller 2-15.

photo by: Emma Pravecek

Free State senior running back Tay Ware grabs the ball from quarterback Wesley Edison during the game against Olathe Northwest on Friday, Sept. 9, 2022 at FSHS.

photo by: Emma Pravecek

Free State junior middle linebacker Justin Lutz celebrates after a play during the game against Olathe Northwest on Friday, Sept. 9, 2022.

photo by: Emma Pravecek

Free State Coach Kevin Stewart watches from the sideline during the game against Olathe Northwest on Friday, Sept. 9, 2022.


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