Through the Uprights: Mike Lavieri 10/18

Mike Lavieri

By Mike Lavieri PrepsKC columnist
Posted: October 20, 2017 - 8:18 AM



On Friday night, Free State will look to cap off its perfect regular season at home against crosstown-rival Lawrence High. The last time the Firebirds started a season this hot was 2006 when it went 11-0 before losing in the semifinals.

The Firebirds have been one of the most dominant teams in the state with this past week against Olathe East giving them the biggest scare so far – even ahead of Park Hill. Free State trailed by as many as 18 in the third quarter to the Eagles and were behind by 14 with 11:50 left in the game before rattling off 21 straight points.

Jax Dineen continues to terrorize defenses. He ran for 293 yards on 18 carries – those are video game numbers. And the best part is we get another year of this, as he’s only a junior.

Dineen one of the main reasons the Firebirds are a win away from wrapping up the No. 1 seed in the west. Yes, ahead of two-time defending state champion Derby.

But they’ll have to get by Lawrence, a team that can hang with the best of them. Last week, the Lions, who lost to Shawnee Mission East 62-40, trailed 42-34 at halftime. And this is a Lawrence team that hasn’t beaten Free State since 2011. They’re going to be extremely hungry to break the losing streak and end the perfect season.

And if that isn’t motivation enough, Lions longtime head coach Dirk Wedd is retiring at the end of the season.

Lawrence is led by quarterback Dante Jackson and running back Hunter Krom, both of whom can pound it on the ground.

They may have to come up with another plan of attack on Friday night as Free State is terrific in stopping the run game. There aren’t many teams that can compete with its level of physicality.

Regardless of what any mythical point spread would be, Friday night has the makings to be an instant classic.