’Canes outmuscle Patriots in victory
After the frustrating season Liberty’s football team had endured through nine weeks, last Saturday’s dominating 21-7 victory over Freedom gave everyone on the Hurricane sideline a monstrous smile.
Sparked by Jaden Vazquez punt block after Freedom went three and out on their opening drive, Trevor Harris scooped up the football and raced six-yards for the opening score that felt like a grand slam of emotion for the early 7-0 lead.
From there, Liberty (4-6) never looked back en route to clinching the final District 11 6A playoff spot and ending a three-game losing streak to the Patriots on a sunny afternoon at BASD Stadium.
“It’s been a frustrating season and to come out here and do this, I feel really good for our guys,” said Liberty head coach John Truby. “We played four full quarters and were more physical. The blocked punt was a huge way to start the game. You can’t have a better start. It was good planning by our coaching staff and the kids executed.”
Nasir Legree continued his workhorse load on Saturday, carrying the ball 49 times for 269 yards and a touchdown. Legree set Liberty’s single-season rushing mark with 1,806 yards this season. He also has 17 TDs, as he’s been in charge of running the offense down the stretch with quarterback Todd Erney only throwing three passes in Saturday’s win, one of which went for a 44-yard pick six interception return by Alec Huertas in the second quarter to tie the game at 7-7.
That was the only way Freedom found the end zone, as their offense was stifled from the beginning, as the Hurricanes limited them to 135 yards passing and -43 yards on the ground (sacks included).
“This has been three years of frustration and not getting the job done in this game and all week I knew we were going to be OK,” said Truby. “I felt like the kids were locked in from the beginning of the week. We changed things on our defensive front this week and I told our guys we needed to make this a fist fight in the trenches.”
After Huertas tied the game following his second quarter INT return, Liberty went back to their bread and butter at dominating the line of scrimmage with their rushing attack.
Roberto Rivera scored on a 29-yard run in the second quarter and Legree cashed in from 19-yards out with 1:47 left in the first half to give them a 21-7 advantage that would hold up the rest of the way through a scoreless second half.
The loss was deflating for the Patriots, dropping them to 5-5 on the year and kept them out of hosting a district playoff game this weekend, as they now have to travel to Emmaus (6-4) on Friday in a three-six district matchup.
“When you come to these games, you have to come ready to play and I take responsibility for that,” said Freedom head coach Jason Roeder. “You got to look at how you prepare and we got out coached and out played. They were more physical than us. That’s the truth and it hurts.”
Liberty, who snuck into the eighth seed for districts will travel to top-seeded Parkland (10-0) this Friday night. The Trojans defeated Liberty 24-7 in week three of the season.
With the way Liberty dominated the line of scrimmage on Saturday, it’s a good sign for the team heading into this week’s matchup with a physical Parkland team, but Truby was cautious to relate last week’s effort to this week’s results.
“I don’t know if this effort is a precursor for Parkland,” said Truby. “They just dumped 42 points on a very good Emmaus team. We’ll be ready to play next week.”