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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Pioneers face toughest test so far

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  • Before last week’s win against Lawrence, the Pioneers went 1-2 in three straight road games. Tonight, Leavenworth travels to one of the best teams in the state in Lawrence Free State. The only loss for the Firebirds is a one score loss at Olathe North in Week 5. Head coach Mark Littrell said this is the key district game because he doesn’t want to rely on getting an important second district win next week. Littrell won the Chiefs High School Coach of the Week for the state of Kansas after last week’s district win over Lawrence. The school will get a $500 grant toward player health and safety equipment and/or education to go along with a football autographed by Chiefs head coach Andy Reid. The Pioneers will be facing a coach who Littrell is familiar with because he has been at Free State since it opened in 1997. “They are as fine a coached football team as there is,” Littrell said. Coach Bob Lisher has coached his team to two straight victories following the road loss to Olathe North. “Offensively, we have a lot of similarities,” Littrell said. “Defensively, they are going to give us basically the same front that we’ve seen the last couple of weeks.” Littrell said the Pioneers’ offensive line will need to get to the linebackers to have success moving the ball, but he also mentioned how talented the Free State secondary is. That unit is lead by senior safety Joe Dineen, who has committed to play at Kansas. Dineen is also the starting quarterback, so the Pioneers will look to stop his throwing and running ability in the zone-read offense. The Firebirds aren’t just battling for a district title; they are tied for the Sunflower League lead with Shawnee Mission East. A win for the Pioneers would give them the second district win that could land them in the playoffs for the second time in over 30 years, and Littrell didn’t hesitate in saying his team can tally another upset win for Leavenworth. “I’m not saying that, I believe that,” he said.
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