Out of the fire

Lori Houk

By Stuart Goldman PrepsKC staff writer
Posted: October 13, 2017 - 11:02 PM

Down 28-10 in the third quarter, Lawrence Free State proved its mettle as the No. 1-ranked team in Kansas Class 6A by roaring back for a 38-31 home victory over a feisty Olathe East team.

The Firebirds improved to 7-0 behind four touchdowns by junior running back Jax Dineen, the final one coming on an 8-yard run that put Free State ahead 38-31 with 4:28 left in the game.

Dineen’s 43-yard touchdown run on the game’s opening possession gave the Firebirds an early lead before Olathe East (3-4) capitalized on Free State miscues and scored three straight touchdowns for a 21-7 advantage. After a Free State fumble, Hezekiah Newman scored on an 8-yard run, followed by Trevon Kearney’s 64-yard touchdown run and Connor McCartney’s 50-yard interception return for a touchdown. Kameron Lake’s 22-yard field goal pulled Free State to within 21-10, and the score remained that way into halftime thanks to McCartney’s second interception of the game.

On the first possession of the second half, quarterback Hunter Thomas hit TyJuan Lewis with a 17-yard touchdown pass to give the Hawks a 28-10 lead. But just as Olathe East took advantage of Free State’s turnovers in the first half, the Firebirds turned the tables on Olathe East in the second half.

Dineen scored on a 13-yard run, and after Spencer Grosz’s 21-yard field goal made it 31-17 Olathe East, Dineen shook some tacklers and scampered 72 yards for a score with 10:49 left in the game. Gage Foster tied the game at 31 on a 4-yard run with 5:34 left, then Kwinton Lassiter’s interception deep in Olathe East territory set up Dineen’s game-winning score. A late fumble doomed the Hawks’ chances of tying the game.