Liberty falls to Eagles Nazareth
The Liberty Hurricanes’ attempt to put a damper on Nazareth’s homecoming ended in a 26-13 defeat Friday night at Andrew S. Leh stadium. The loss extended the ‘Canes losing streak to five games and left them at 2-5 on the season.
Liberty’s problems were mostly self-inflicted. After the defense halted the initial Nazareth drive by stopping a 4th-and-5 attempt deep in Liberty territory, it seemed that the visitors would have some momentum. However, a fumble on their second play from scrimmage gave the Eagles a short field, which they converted into a field goal for the initial score of the game.
With Nazareth keying on Nasir Legree, who was held to 45 yards on 16 carries, the Liberty offense struggled to mount any early scoring threats. However, the ‘Canes defense kept them in the game by holding the Blue Eagles to a field goal on their next possession to hold the score to 6-0 after one period.
Midway through the second quarter, it appeared that the Hurricanes had evened the game and were poised to take the lead when Javonte Haynes picked off the Nazareth QB and took the ball to the house. However, a flag for pass interference gave the ball back to the Eagles and they converted their third field goal of the game at the end of the drive.
Nazareth added a touchdown with 51 seconds left in the half and then recovered the ball when they executed an onside kick. On the first play of the drive, a Haynes interception finally made it to the stat sheet and gave Liberty a chance to put up some points before the half. Things looked promising when Legree broke off a 37-yard run, but once again a penalty nullified a big play by the ‘Canes and they took a 16-0 deficit into the locker room.
A punt on the first possession of the second half pinned the Blue Eagles at the 1-yard line, but the Liberty defense was unable to stop the Nazareth march, as over 8 and half minutes came off the clock on Nazareth’s fourth field goal drive of the game. The third quarter ended with the score at 19-0.
Liberty final got on the board when Dallas Holmes hit Javonte Haynes with a 21-yard pass with 9:09 left in the game. The play accounted for a quarter of Haynes’ 84 yards on a team-high five receptions.
It looked like the Hurricanes might be on the verge of an improbable comeback when they appeared to force a three-and-out on Nazareth’s next possession. However, the third down play saw more yellow laundry on the field and a roughing the passer call enabled the Eagles to drive for the score that put the game out of reach. Holmes added a late, 17-yard TD run to give him 40 rushing yards on the game to go with his 133 yards passing.
Head coach John Truby was unhappy with his team’s mental lapses but praised senior defensive lineman Trevor Harris who spent most of the game in the Nazareth backfield terrorizing the Blue Eagles’ skill players.
“Trevor Harris played a hell of game for us tonight. That kid gave us nonstop effort. I can’t say enough about how hard he plays. I’m really proud of him. He keeps coming out here and doing his thing.”
Next up, the Hurricanes will host Allentown Central Catholic on Friday. The Vikings will come into the game with 3-4 record on the heals of a 49-14 home loss to Emmaus.