Lawrence Free State survives Leavenworth

By Ian Stanford The Leavenworth Times
Posted: October 26, 2013 - 12:28 AM



Leavenworth gave Free State all they could handle Friday, and then a lot more.
The Pioneers knocked out quarterback/safety Joe Dineen early, and then came within a hair of knocking the state’s second-ranked Firebirds to their second defeat.
Free State won 25-23, in a tense game marked by a lot of physical defense and big stops, with the big plays mostly coming on special teams.
The Pioneers’ offense got the ball across midfield twice in the final quarter, but couldn’t get the big play they needed late to get points.
Following a Pioneer defensive stop on 3rd down that would’ve sealed the game for Free State, Leavenworth’s offense got it back with 1:32 on the clock and no timeouts.
A Jason Randall run and a pass interference penalty advanced it past the 50 with less than a minute left, but a sack on Landry Hodges forced a 4th and long with just a few ticks left.
Hodges pass was tipped at the line and intercepted.
“Our kids played their tails off against one of the best teams in the state and came up two points short,” Leavenworth head coach Mark Littrell said. “I’m proud of them, they laid it all on the line, and we believed we could play with the best in the state, and here we are.”
Leavenworth is now 1-1 in districts. They need to beat Wyandotte next week to have a good chance to make the playoffs for just the second time in the last 34 years.
If Leavenworth wins next Friday and Free State beats Lawrence, Leavenworth advances.
If Lawrence upsets Free State, it will come down to a points’ tiebreaker between Leavenworth, Free State, and Lawrence, with the top two advancing.