Game Preview: Free State vs. Haysville Campus

Football team expected to beat Colts and advance to state quarterfinals

After handily defeating the Wichita North Redskins by a score of 63-18, the Firebirds will now face opponent Haysville Campus in the second round.

The Haysville Colts finished their regular season with a 5-3 record, but looking at their schedule tells a more impressive story with their losses to Derby, Salina Central and Wichita Maize—all three of top teams in the Wichita area with a combined regular season record of 21-2. 

On offense, the Colts run a pass-heavy attack that has netted them 29 points per game thus far in the season. The passing game runs through 6’3” 200-pound wide receiver Tyler Kahmann, an all-state honorable mention last year. In practice this week, stopping Kahmann from getting the ball has been the main focus for the Firebirds. 

“They have a really good receiver in [Kahmann],” junior outside linebacker Joey Eddis said. “Our corners are pretty small so that will be a challenge for them.”

With senior starting cornerbacks Jaxon Malone and Oliver Paranjothi both measuring under 5’10”, the Firebirds don’t have much height on the outside. However, it hasn’t stopped them before as the two were able to hold 6’4” Olathe South star receiver A.J. Shields to just four catches for 37 yards earlier this season.

“Every guy that I guard is usually at least four inches taller than me,” Paranjothi said. “I love the challenge,”

As they have all season, the Firebirds should have no problem scoring touchdowns this game. The Colts defense is led by senior linebacker Quinton Hicks, a South Dakota State commit, but lack playmakers elsewhere on the defensive unit.

Junior quarterback Malik Berry is back from injury this week, sending senior Jaxson Webb back to his usual position as wide receiver. Junior left tackle Turner Corcoran is also expected to play after a two week absence due to a knee injury.

As usual, expect Berry to connect with senior receiver Keenan Garber for a couple of touchdowns as senior running back Jax Dineen runs down the throat of the Colts front seven.

With a tougher opponent in store this week, the senior players have made it clear in the locker room that if they don’t focus, this could be the final game of their season.

“[Underclassmen] need to understand that if we lose, it’s over,” Paranjothi said. “It goes by fast for us seniors, and it’s going to be the same for them in a couple of years.”

Campus is a worthy opponent, but the Firebirds are 9-0 for a reason. Anticipate them to leave the field tonight with a comfortable victory.

Prediction: Free State 38—Campus 21