Lawrence shuts out rival Free State
By Adam Sullivan PrepsKC staff writer
Lawrence came in to tonight’s battle with Lawrence Free State without their star quarterback Brad Strauss who injured his ankle last week.
The talk all week had been what the Lions would try to do without him, well we found out the answer tonight and his name is Tyrone Jenkins. Jenkins led the Lions into a crazed atmosphere at Free State Stadium in front of a sold out crowd to see this year’s “City Showdown.”
Lawrence ran their own version of the wildcat, and caught the Firebirds by surprise. When asked if he had prepared for such an attack from Lawrence, Free State head coach Bob Lisher said the formation gave the firebirds problems.
“We prepared for them to snap to Jenkins, but not in the formation they used,” Lisher said. “Give them credit it was a great plan, we did our best to adjust to it, and we tried our best to blitz them but give them credit they picked them up.”
Lawrence struck first on a 3-yard run by Jenkins to take the lead 7-0. Free State was unable to respond to the quick touchdown, and Lawrence continued to hit the gas. Early in the second quarter the Lions went up 10-0 off of a 30-yard field goal by Anthony Rosen.
So we all knew the Jenkins could run the ball, but nobody was expecting him to drop back and pass, especially Free State. In the second quarter Jenkins found a wide-open Eric Mayo for a 68-yard touchdown pass to give the Lions a 17-0 lead at the half.
Free State all year had been able to rely on junior quarterback Kyle McFarland but he struggled in the first half throwing for only 13 yards. The Firebirds lacked an offensive spark in the half only putting up nine yards of total offense at the half.
The second half was full of more runs by Jenkins as the Lions tried to hold on for the victory. Free State never gained the momentum to respond to the Lions, as nothing seemed to work offensively for Kyle McFarland, as he went 1/7 with 13 yards and one interception.
The Firebirds just managed 85 yards of total offense on the night. Leading the Lions statistically in this one was running back Tyron Jenkins who carried 40 times for 117 yards with one touchdown, and threw for 115 yards and one touchdown on three completions of four attempts. This was Jenkins first touchdown pass ever.
“It’s a great win we practiced hard all week, it feels good to come away with the victory,” Jenkins said of the big win over its rival.
Lawrence added another field goal late in the fourth quarter to cap off the win 20-0 and punch their ticket into the playoffs. As the clock ran out the Lawrence students rushed the field in celebration.
Lawrence head coach Dirk Wedd said it was important to keep getting Jenkins the ball.
“We had a pretty successful running back,” Wedd said. “He’s a great kid with a lot of character and we tried to get the ball in his hands as much as possible.”
With the win the Lions improve to (6-3) on the season and will advance to play at Olathe South next Friday in the Kansas 6A State playoffs. The Firebirds fell to (6-3) and will miss the playoffs, and start to plan for next season. This was the first time in six years the Lions have defeated their rival, coach Wedd had this to say about the big win.
“We haven’t been as good as those guys in the past years, it means a lot to the kids.” Wedd said. “We coached hard and played hard every game, and we have a good football team that really showed up tonight.”
Free State still holds the series record (8-7).
Turner Golden Bears
Lawrence Free State Firebirds
Mill Valley Jaguars
Kansas City Central Blue Eagles
Fort Osage Indians
Olathe Northwest Ravens
William Chrisman Bears