Bring on the Bees

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Liberty will host defending State champs on Friday

By Mike Forster


Now is the time to strike.

There is not a member of the current Liberty team that has experienced a varsity-level gridiron win over Brookville.

Well, the whole crew gets a chance to change that, when the Bees head to town this Friday.

Over the past three seasons, Brookville has dominated the series.  In fact, the Bees have won seven of their last eight encounters with the Minutemen (see box on jump page).  Recent history is particularly bloody, as the last two contests were routs, with Brookville amassing 102 points to Liberty's 14.

This year, however, the Bees do not appear to be as mighty as they were the last two seasons.  The Minutemen appear to be much improved.  Does that calculus result in a win by Liberty?  That's why they slap 'em on under the Friday night lights, my friends.

"Hopefully, our kids have confidence in themselves," said Liberty Head Coach Chris Watts.  "Every week we want to play our best, no matter who the opponent is."

Yes, Brookville was knocked off by Gretna in its season-opener.  But, keep in mind that Gretna is picked by many to be a top contestant for the 2A-State championship.

Brookville also picked up its first win, in a squeaker, over lightly-regarded Turner Ashby.

Talk about Brookville being down this year is simply premature.

The Bees are, once again, big, physical and fast.  The only thing the team seems to be lacking is experience.  Guess what?  They're getting that.

Liberty will have to contend with hard-running Phillip Watts, Daequan Myers and Jason Carwile.

Quarterback Neal Reynolds  is starting to look comfortable running the show.  Look for him to go to the air early, particularly to favorite target Ben Hogg, in a test of the Liberty defensive secondary.

That test is due:  Liberty has so far faced a team with no quarterback, in the shape of Staunton River's single-wing attack, and a team with an untested quarterback, in the form of Rockbridge, which had to go with a second-stringer as Trey Merchant sat out that game.

The key to a Liberty win will, as always rely on staunch defense and deceptive offense.  Much of the current crew of Brookville defenders has never seen anything like the Minutemen's stacked-I option attack.  It's a look that is nearly impossible to replicate in practice.  That should work for Liberty.

Also, the Liberty air attack seems to have found its way.  QB Austin Porter seems to have a host of superb targets, with Treon Brawley, Kendrick Thompson and Jamaal Preston in the forefront.

While Liberty has had nice wins in its first two games, it has not been put to anything resembling a big test.  Both Staunton River and Rockbridge County were missing some of their most potent offensive weapons when they played Liberty.

Similarly, the case can be made that Liberty let both teams hang around longer than they had any business doing.  One cannot do that sort of thing against the likes of Brookville, no matter how many of last year's starters it may have graduated.

"Our goal is to play four quarters of good football," said Watts.  "It that happens to be against Brookville, that makes it that much more enjoyable."