Last kick wins

By Mike Lavieri PrepsKC columnist
Posted: October 21, 2017 - 2:18 AM

Friday night was an instant classic that finished with Kameron Lake hitting a 28-yard field goal into the wind to give Free State a 24-21 victory against Lawrence.

Not only did the win wrap up an undefeated season for the Firebirds, it also gave them the Sunflower League title outright – their first league title since 2013 – and it was the sixth straight victory against the Lions.

“Everybody [was] hitting my head,” Lake said of the celebration. “I thought I was concussed for a minute.

“A lot of pressure, definitely. If I don’t make it we have to go to overtime.”

Facing a 4th and 3 from its own 43, the Free State defense needed to stop a Lawrence offense that had scored on its past two possessions and had all the confidence.

Lions quarterback Dante Jackson needed to get to the Free State 40, and was stopped just short of the marker, which the chains confirmed giving the ball back to the Firebirds with 29 seconds left and two timeouts. 

Free State quarterback Gage Foster ran out of bounds for 14 yards to get the ball over midfield. 23 seconds left.

Forter then hit Jack Rittman for 11 yards. The ball was at the Lawrence 35 with 15 seconds left until somebody jumped offside.

On first and 15 from the 40 Foster went back to Rittman, this time for 14 yards. Free State took a timeout with 10 seconds left.

Lake’s game-winning field goal was set up by Jax Dineen’s 15-yard run to the 11, in which Free State took a timeout with five seconds left.

Lawrence, which had all three timeouts left, didn’t use one to ice Lake.

“I just go out there thinking about the kick,” Lake said. “I don’t worry about what they’re going to do. It happened in the Rural game [in 2016] and I didn’t even realize it.”

Lawrence was down 21-7 after Foster ran for a 46 yard touchdown midway through the third quarter, but on the two ensuing drives, Lawrence rattled off 14 straight points – a five-yard catch and throw from Jackson to Jalen Dudley followed by a 44-yard keeper by Jackson.

The second touchdown came off of a Dineen fumble, his second of the night. Free State fumbled once more, but had issues with snaps and handoffs all evening.

“It things we haven’t had problems with much until the last two weeks,” Free State coach Bob Lisher said. “We have to get our focus back; quit trying to be so happy in practice all the time.”

Free State will be the No. 1 seed out west in Class 6A and will host Wichita North while Free State is the No. 6 seed in the East and will host Olathe Northwest.