When the final whistle sounded at Blue Valley High School Friday night, the last team left standing was Lawrence Free State, who defeated Blue Valley 14-7. The Firebirds (9-3) played an oustanding game on both sides of the ball and will advance to their first state championship game Saturday, where they will face Junction City (12-0), who advanced out of the 6A West bracket with a 22-3 defeat of Derby.
This is the first 6A title game since 1999 that neither Olathe North or Hutchinson will be competing in. Hutchinson dropped to 5A this season and will be playing St. Thomas Aquinas for the 5A state crown Saturday, and Olathe North was defeated by Lawrence Free State in the sectional game of this year's playoffs.
Lawrence Free State's duo of Cameron Torneden and Chucky Hunter proved to be too much for the Blue Valley defense to handle. Hunter rushed 38 times for 170 yards and added both of the Firebirds touchdowns. Meanwhile Torneden ran the ball 18 times for 123 yards.
The Blue Valley offense never seemed to click throughout the game, and quarterback Anthony Abenoja played his worst game of the season, completing only six of 21 passes, for 78 yards and two interceptions.
Despite this, the game was tied at seven early in the fourth quarter when Blue Valley drove deep into Firebird territory. Abenoja threw a strike to on a fourth down play from the Firebird 20 to a Blue Valley receiver in the front of the endzone. The receiver was unable to come down with the catch and the ball was turned over on downs.
Lawrence Free State capitalized with a 17 play, 80 yard drive that ended with a touchdown plunge by Hunter. Lawrence Free State gained the lead 14-7, and held Blue Valley on the next defensive stand to come away with the win.