Game Recap: Free State vs. Haysville Campus

Firebirds beat Haysville Campus and continue on to play Manhattan High School

Taking care of business on their home field yet again, the Free State football team brought their record to 9-0 by defeating Haysville Campus, 51-27. 

Coming off a 61-point effort last week against Wichita North, the Firebirds had no trouble picking up where they left off, clicking on offense all throughout the night.

But it wasn’t the offense that began the scoring for the Firebirds.

With 3 minutes left in the first quarter and the game still scoreless, Haysville Campus was forced to punt out of the back of their own end zone. The Firebirds shedded the blockers, and senior Matthew Georgie got a clean hand on the football, blocking the punt and forcing a safety.

“It was pretty funny actually,” Georgie said. “I told Joey [Eddis] I was gonna block it because they were so far back in the endzone. He took the two guys with him and nobody blocked me so I had a clear shot at the punter.”

Less than a minute later, Haysville Campus got the ball back, but not for long.

Senior receiver and cornerback Keenan Garber, most known for his incredible  touchdowns on offense, intercepted an errant pass at the Firebirds’ 45-yard line. As soon as he intercepted it, Garber used his wide receiver skills to navigate defenders and take it to the end zone for a pick six.

“I kind of knew [Keenan was going to score], because I know how fast he is,” Georgie said. “When I was right by him, I saw him pick it off and he had momentum going the other way so I knew he’d be gone.”

From that moment on, the Firebirds’ offense did their part in controlling the game, with junior quarterback Malik Berry marching the team downfield. Berry had an efficient running game along with his 133 yards through the air and three passing touchdowns.

“The offense played really well,” Georgie said. “We knew their defense wasn’t their strength and we kind of took advantage of that, with running and passing the ball.”

The Firebirds mainly kept the ball on the ground, with senior running back Jax Dineen bulldozing over the Haysville Campus defenders. Dineen finished with a total of 164 yards and an average of 7.8 yards per carry. Later in the second half, speedy sophomore Tyler Bowden got his turn, running for 97 yards and a touchdown on only seven carries.

Although the Firebirds looked unstoppable at times, there were a few moments in the game where their mistakes could’ve hurt them.

“The other team was running kind of easily on us, and hitting our outside edges pretty hard so we just need to contain that,” Georgie said. “We can also soften our coverage for our corners, their wide receivers got a couple clean routes on us.”

In the end, it was another dominating performance for the undefeated Firebirds. Next week, in the state quarterfinals, the Firebirds stay on their home field and face Manhattan High School on Friday.