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Loss caps up & down year for M-Men

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A few turns of a friendly card would have been nice

By Mike Forster

 

"May you live in interesting times."

-Ancient Chinese curse

 

The Liberty football team, one that has lived this season in interesting times, saved the best for last.

The Minutemen's loss to Magna Vista in the opening round of the playoffs was the pièce de résistance of a season that was loaded with high drama and hard feelings.

The Minutemen won eight of their games.  Nearly every one of those victories came in convincing fashion.

The team also lost four games.  Three of those losses came down to the most bitter of ends.  The team's loss to E.C. Glass was the sole exception, where the Hilltoppers were clearly the better team that evening.

The losses to Brookville, Heritage and Magna Vista, however, were by a combined six points.  Had the Minutemen been able to convert a first down (against Brookville) or had one less turnover (against Heritage), they wouldn't have been facing the two-hour drive to Ridgeway to face Magna Vista:  a team that matched up more favorably against Liberty than did any of the other 14 entrants in the 3A-West hunt.

It is a credit to the Minutemen that they were able to put themselves in position to beat a team that has one of the most potent air attacks in central Virginia.  Remember, after all, Liberty's Achilles' Heel this season has been its pass defense.

In the Magna Vista game, Austin Porter's pass to Dustin Hiner, and Hiner's remarkable catch while being double covered, could have been the play that would resonate with the Liberty faithful for years to come.

Instead, it was a remarkable play made during a season-ending loss.

Instead, it will be the Warriors who will evermore doff their hats to Bryce Harkins and his 75-yard dash to paydirt with under a minute remaining.

From a Liberty perspective, you can log that play in the same file as the Neal Reynolds-to-Ben Hogg connections which gave Brookville the come-from-behind win in week three.

And the 22-yard pass from Heritage's Austin Fitzgerald to an uncovered Frankie Hickson which iced the Pioneer win in week nine.

Interesting times, eh?

Head Coach Chris Watts seemed to think so, adding, "It would have been nice to win one of them."