Olathe Northwest did not have luck on its side Friday night. The Ravens saw two potential forced fumbles bounce just out of reach and were intercepted on another funky play.
But even when they had the ball, not much went Northwest’s way in a 35-0 loss to Lawrence Free State.
The Ravens (2-4) saw their two-game winning streak come to a halt. Free State (4-2) stymied the Northwest offense throughout the night. Northwest didn’t come within 20 yards of scoring until the fourth quarter when the game was well in hand. Sophomore Drew Dumas led the offense with 35 rushing yards on nine carries.
“The secondary really stepped up,” Free State defensive back Zion Bowlin said. “We’ve been struggling the last couple games, and coach (Bob Lisher) has been pounding it into our head in practice, and school even, that we need to tighten it up in the secondary. It was a matter of buckling down, staying close to them, and not letting them get past us when they went deep. That’s all we needed to do.”
Bowlin also ran for a game-high 136 yards and a touchdown at tailback. The Firebirds’ offense was stagnant before Bowlin rumbled 11 yards for a score midway through the second quarter.
“During halftime, the (offensive) line got an earful,” Bowlin said. “They stepped up in the second half, and we just hit the holes hard. This is definitely what we needed. This is a big confidence boost.”
Senior quarterback Dallas Crittenden threw for an efficient 189 yards and two touchdowns for Free State. Zack Sanders, who finished with 52 yards on seven receptions, caught both scoring passes.
It was just the sort of all-around effort that bodes well as the home stretch of the regular season approaches.
“Our guys popped off a couple plays there. We were a big-play offense tonight, not that we were very consistent,” Free State coach Bob Lisher said. “Defensively we made a lot of plays we haven’t been making, and the run defense was solid all night long.”