Football beats Free State to return to seventh straight 6A semifinal

Cooper Chadwick

Derby edged Lawrence Free State 27-21 Friday night to advance to the Class 6A semifinals on Nov. 19.

The Panthers (10-0) will play host to Lawrence (9-2) in the semifinals, their seventh straight trip to the semis. The last time Derby did not advance past the quarterfinals was in 2014.

Junior running back Dylan Edwards was dominant again, scoring three touchdowns and rushing for 251 yards on 25 carries.

Senior quarterback Mercer Thatcher scored on a one-yard run to put Derby up 21-0 in the second quarter.

The Panthers stopped Free State on four straight downs inside the 10 late in the third quarter. 

They took over at their own 5 with 2:12 to go when Edwards took the pitch from the left side, cut up inside and scored 95 yards later for the 27-14 lead.

Free State quarterback Jet Dineen found Jordan Brown for a 25-yard TD with 3:19 to go to get within six points. Dineen threw for 130 yards.

Edwards’ first down with 1:34 to go sealed the win for Derby, which was able to run out the clock.