Bethlehem Press

Monday, October 21, 2019

Liberty rolls by Bears

Thursday, August 29, 2019 by Andy Steinmetz asteinmetz@tnonline.com in Sports

Early on in the season, football programs need to be able to handle the jitters then hopefully the talent can overcome that adversity to nab Week 1 wins.

Led by senior quarterback Dallas Holmes’ effort, and plenty of other standout performances, the Hurricanes came out of the gates with a gritty 70-0 shutout win over Pleasant Valley.

“I was very excited with our execution overall and that’s the kind of effort you want to see in the first game and I thought our guys did a great job,” head coach John Truby said. “This was a nice win, but in this league, we are gonna have a lot of tough opponents coming our way. So we want to clean things up a bit, fix the mistakes we made, and keep getting better at what we’re good at.”

In the early stages of the contest, the ‘Canes displayed some of what they are good at by connecting on several key plays to put up two first-frame scores to pounce out to an early lead.

A two-yard run by Kareem Morrison and a 22-yard pass from Holmes to Kyle Jimenez put the hosts up early.

“Honestly, Dallas has been working his butt off for this moment,” Truby said. “He paid his dues, he earned his spot, and this year, he’s really done a nice job with Coach Schultz getting this offense going. I think he has definitely improved tremendously as a leader and as a football player.”

Holmes added to his production in the second quarter, as he connected on scoring receptions with two other targets in Kendrick Wesley and Rondell McNeil.

By the intermission, the Bears faced a huge hole, as they were down 42-0 at the break.

Truby added, “I really can’t speak for the level of work that he’s put in for this program.”

Out of the halftime break the Bears got their first (and only two) first downs of the game on their initial drive of the third frame, before sputtering deep in the Hurricanes’ territory. A 48-yard spree by sophomore Robert Papaleo began the drive, and strong runs by senior QB Jack Stephens saw the Bears get to the ‘Canes’ 10, before turning the ball over on downs.

“I saw a lot of heart and the kids fought and tried,” Pleasant Valley head coach Blaec Saeger said postgame. “In the second half, we moved the football a little bit and we might have came up short, but it wasn’t for a lack of effort.”

Some late stage turnovers spelled certain doom for a comeback bid, as the winners turned two fumbles and a blocked punt into scores in the second half, as they won, going away.

DEFENSE MATTERS...Liberty’s offense was strong in their opening game, but more impressive was their defense, as they forced five turnovers (fumble recoveries), and turned the miscues into scoring opportunities.

DAS BOOT...The special teams of Liberty consistently pinned the Bears’ offense deep in their own area, as kickers Sander Sahaydek and Ethan Ferry pounded kickoffs, punts and PATs. Sahaydek’s kickoffs produced four touchbacks, and the duo combined for a perfect 10-10 on points after scores.

WHAT A SHOW...The Liberty marching band was phenomenal, putting on one of the best performances this writer has ever seen. If you get a chance, see them.