The Liberty Lions are on a quest to reach success that has not yet been reached in the history of the school. As the number one seed in division II, they are eyeing their first ever state title and the road to achieve that began on Friday night against the 16 seed St. Mary’s Knights.
Liberty would strike early and would never look back, knocking off the Knights by the final of 45-20.
Over the last few seasons which has seen Liberty cement themselves as one of the elite teams in the division, it had been with their offense. But what has helped take them to another level in 2014 has been the play of their defense. And that was the case to get the game going on Friday night as they got things rolling with an interception by senior Kory Wilson who returned the pick all the way to the one yard line. Teammate Alex Hunter ran it in from there.
The Lions Defense would force two turnovers on downs in just over a quarter of play and provided some big hits on the St. Mary’s players as well.
“In the postseason, it comes down to trusting who is behind you and believing that they know what they are doing,” stated Wilson.
Quarterback Tyler Wyatt was all business in the game as well as he orchestrated a few long methodical drives, one of which in the second quarter that went 13 plays and resulted in a Jake Schuiteboer touchdown run to make it a three score game.
“The last few weeks, we really feel like our offense has been clicking,” said Liberty Head Coach Danny Filleman. “It took us most of the season to find our identity a little bit and now I really think we have found it. Our o-line is playing well, were physical up front and our kids are having fun with it.”
“We keep improving each week,” mentioned Wyatt. “Us seniors know that each week could be our last so we are motivated knowing that there is no more tomorrow.”
St. Mary’s is known for their air attack which we have seen from the incredible numbers that Gabe Losada has recorded now over the last two seasons. What the Lions faced in round one is the perfect tune up for what they will see in round two from the Paradise Valley Trojans who have one of the best passing attacks in the state behind quarterback Daniel Bridge-Gadd.
“This St. Mary’s team got us prepared for a passing attack with PV and I think it is going to be a very tough number eight seed seeing as both teams finished 9-1,” Filleman explained. “It will be interesting.”
“We played them in passing league and played them two years ago so we are pretty familiar with them,” added Wilson. “I know I will have a big test next week, I know our defense has a big test next week and it just going to come down to fundamentals.”