The student-run news site of Lawrence Free State High School

Free Press Online

The student-run news site of Lawrence Free State High School

Free Press Online

The student-run news site of Lawrence Free State High School

Free Press Online

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SPORTS: Lawrence Football 4-0

Free State and KU football started season 4-0
The+varsity+football+players+cheer+while+running+onto+the+field+before+their+away+game+against+Olathe+West.+Free+State+beat+Olathe+West+47-29+at+their+first+game+of+the+season+on+Thursday%2C+Aug.+31.
Lady Ortega-Perez
The varsity football players cheer while running onto the field before their away game against Olathe West. Free State beat Olathe West 47-29 at their first game of the season on Thursday, Aug. 31.

Free State and University of Kansas [KU] football both won their first four games to start the season undefeated. Coming into the season, expectations were high for Free State. Last year, they posted a 5-3 record in the regular season and with many players returning, improvement was expected.

Senior Jackson Lickert describes his outlook for the football team. Having observed last year’s team, he saw the potential for the following season.

“My expectations were above average,” Lickert said. “I know we had a lot of returning players with game experience, and those guys made some big improvements in the offseason.”

The Firebirds burst out the gate firing on all cylinders, winning the first two road games by a large margin. After an electric win at home against Olathe East, fans were certain we were in for a special season. Free State was 4-0 for the first time since 2019 and has become the seventh team in program history to start 4-0. Senior Ryan Morgan said her observations of the team.

“We already look better now than we were last year,” Morgan said. “We can only go up from here.”

After collecting another consuming win on Sept. 29 against Shawnee Mission South, the Firebirds improved to 5-0 with three games remaining in the regular season. The last two home games pose a challenge with Lawrence High School and Olathe North. Lickert explains the challenge of the final games of the season.

“LHS is going to be a great game to watch and O North is always very good,” Lickert said. “They both will be looking for revenge since we beat them last year and it will be a close game throughout.”

Similarly, another Lawrence-based team has had a hot start to their season. KU football started off 4-0, winning all of their non-conference games to build confidence entering Big 12 play. This was the first time the Jayhawks have started back-to-back seasons 4-0 since 1913-1915. With an experienced offense and an improving defense, KU looked sharp and cracked the AP 25 Poll at #24 on Sept. 24. Junior Sean Ruddy expressed his enthusiasm for this team.

“I was excited to see how they established themselves last year and how that would translate to this year,” Ruddy said.

KU entered Big 12 play with a tough loss to #3 Texas on Sept. 30 to become 4-1, but showed plenty of potential to be top contenders in the tough Big 12 conference and to be bowl-bound once again.

Entering week 7, Free State stands at 6-0 after another massive victory over Shawnee Mission North on Oct. 6. KU bounced back from the loss to Texas with a blowout of UCF on Oct. 7 to stand at 5-1. Both teams are showing plenty of upside and potential to gain high seeding for the postseason.

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About the Contributors
Thomas Patton
Thomas Patton, Reporter
Thomas is a second year member of the journalism staff. He is Student Council co-president, an NHS officer, and a member of the student-athlete leadership team. Thomas loves to play sports in his free time.
Lady Ortega-Perez
Lady Ortega-Perez, News Photo Editor
Lady Ortega-Perez is a Junior at Free State and is in her second year of journalism with the title of Photo Editor for the Free Press Newspaper. Outside of journalism, she is co-president of Key club, webmaster for the Kansas district level of key club, part of equity council, city of Lawrence coalition for equity, and choir.
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