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By Jeffery McClintock
As fall will soon be upon us, many of you will break out the leaf blower, hoping to get it cranking.
You’ll pull the cord and see it sputter. Eventually, though, it will get going.
In much the same way, Liberty was acting like the old leaf blower. It took a while to get the Minutemen cranked up, but once they did, they mowed down the Blacksburg Bruins and secured a 40–3 victory.
After camping out in Bruin territory for most of the first half, Liberty went up 14 to zip at the end of two. It could have been worse for the Bruins (or, depending on perspective, better for Liberty). Trevon Lightfoot broke free down the right side of the field with a beautiful ball fake, scoring from 24 yards out. But it was all for naught because of the yellow laundry on the field: illegal block in the back.
After the penalty, Liberty ended the drive with a 28-yard field goal attempt by Hunter Taylor, but the kick was just wide right.
Ah, but those Bruins couldn’t crack the code, as the Liberty defense was relentless. After a fumbled shotgun snap by Bruin signal caller Stevin Wilburn forced a punt, the Minutemen set up shop at the Bruin 34 yard line. M-Man Breon Brawley would find pay dirt from 18 yards out, and the rout was on.
The next Bruin possession ended when Hunter Patterson recovered the ball on a Bruin fumble.
Lightfoot went to the air, hooking up with Josh Martin for a 26-yard touchdown. But that play was called back because of an anxious lineman blocking his foe too far downfield: Ineligible receiver down field.
Coach Watts had this to say about the play: “The guy that was downfield was blocking somebody, so it’s one of those things. There’s a point where we have to stop on passes, and that is just one of those things we have to learn.”
After spotting the ball at the Bruin 31 yard line, Lightfoot called his own number for a 29-yard sprint, but was stopped at the Bruin two. On the very next play freshman Matthew Smith scored his first varsity touchdown, on a dive, to send the Minutemen into the locker room up by two tallies.
The Liberty defense surrendered only 13 yards in the first half, paving the way for the rout in the second stanza. Lightfoot took the first snap of the half 62 yards down the left side, to push the advantage to 20 points. Taylor missed the extra point, but the damage was done.
It wasn’t all doom and gloom for Blacksburg, as Daniel Stinespring made a diving 44-yard reception. But three plays later, Liberty’s Cody Massie picked off his first of a pair of errant throws. On the next Bruin possession, they were finally able to get on the board with a Carson Wise 40-yard field goal.
But this night was all about the Liberty offense and the emergence of a starting quarterback. Lightfoot finished the game with 121 yards on the ground with a touchdown.
Said Watts about his options at quarterback, including four possible players that could fill that position, “It’s been that way for a while now, and we had one get hurt in practice, so it got narrowed down a little for us. Trevon has been doing a great job of running it, and he can take it a long way if something breaks down. He’s a great athlete.”
Another player that emerged for Liberty was Breon Brawley who capped the night with 119 yards, breaking off TD runs of 60, 18 and 10 yards.
With the defense playing tenaciously, and the offense working out the kinks from this game, it appears that Liberty is once again going to be a tough out for opponents.
Next to take a shot at the defending Seminole District Champs: Staunton River, who’ll face the M-Men in Moneta this Friday night.