Free State ruins Leavenworth's Homecoming

By Derek Helling The Leavenworth Times
Posted: September 25, 2015 - 11:46 PM

The varsity football team from Leavenworth High School had designs on claiming their first win of the season on Friday in front of the homecoming crowd. Lawrence Free State senior quarterback Bryce Torneden also wanted to lead the Firebirds to their first victory of 2015. The clash of opposing wills had negative results for the Pioneers, as Torneden's arm and legs powered Free State to a 43-7 win.

"It's disappointing when you lose," Leavenworth head coach Mark Littrell said. "We have to focus all the time. I thought we had a good week of practice, but we have to transfer that out to the field on Friday night."

The Pioneer defense was able to contain Torneden and the Firebird offense on the opening possession of the game, as the teams traded punts to start the contest. On Free State's second possession, Pioneer senior defensive lineman Braxton Allen recovered a Firebird fumble to set up Leavenworth at the Free State 45-yard line, but couldn't advance the ball and had to punt for a second time.

It was then that Torneden's offense started gaining momentum, as the Firebirds' Sam Skwarlo took the ball 60 yards. Pioneer senior Nick Starnes blocked the extra-point kick, and with 4:39 left in the first quarter, Free State held a 6-0 lead.

After another Pioneer punt, Torneden struck for the first time. The Firebird quarterback completed a 56-yard catch and run play that hit paydirt again. Free State missed the extra point try, leaving themselves up 12-0 with 1:29 left in the first quarter of play.

After the quarter ended, Leavenworth had gotten a stop near mid-field and was ready to receive a Firebird punt. The punt was muffed, however, and Free State pounced on the loose ball at the Pioneers' 26-yard line.

Leavenworth's defense held again, but the Firebirds were able to tack on a 29-yard field goal to put themselves up 15-0 with 5:45 left in the first half.

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