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High School Football:
Big Crowd, Big Plays, Big Win For Shawnee

Friday, October 10, 2003

By Vincent Lewis
SJSports Staff Writer

It’s the game that always stirs up the debate about which team is better than the other. Discussions about previous encounters with their familiar opponent have gone back as far as five to ten years ago. That was the main focus of conversation before the classic football match up took place Friday evening at Shawnee High School. In front of a packed house, the Chiefs from Cherokee proved they could move the ball on offense. It would be their inability of converting those critical third down plays that did them in. The Renegades would strike quickly scoring three times in the second quarter that allowed them to remain undefeated. Shawnee would walk off the field at the end of this Burlington/Olympic Conference American Division game with a 21-0 score.

The atmosphere before and during this game could be described similar to the Eagles-Cowboys rivalry. Each devoted fan mentioning how much they wanted their team to come out and totally dominate their other’s opposition. Through the first quarter, Cherokee (4-1) looked to have the advantage with their ability to move the ball on the ground. But the scoreboard still showed zeros for both teams up until just under eight minutes remaining until halftime.

Coach Tim Gushue’s staff noticed how the Cherokee defense was locked in on halfback Evan Francks. This time, Francks didn’t run with the ball but tossed a pass to Kevin Dybalski who scored on the 29-yard touchdown reception. That play alone was the big play that put the rest of this game in motion. About five minutes later, quarterback Fred Linett connected with Dybalski for his second touchdown of the day. He out leaped his defender and pulled down the 10-yard reception. After that catch, Dybalski lined up and kicked his second successful extra point that put Shawnee ahead 14-0.

By this time, the Shawnee faithful had a lot to cheer and brag about. The Renegades had the momentum and continued to show their home crowd they were determined to come out on top. The defense, yet again, came through with a big interception under two minutes remaining in the half. Francks this time was rewarded with a rushing touchdown from one-yard out. That score gave Shawnee all the points they needed to pick up the win against a team that beat them last year.

Photos by Mark Fletcher

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