Minutemen: Running with the Devils

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Liberty pulls out a close one

By Mike Forster


The Liberty Booster Club may rethink how it stocks its concession stand over the next couple of weeks.

Instead of its usual fare of hamburgers, hot dogs, sodas and chips, the stand might need to start carrying Tums, Rolaids, Rogaine and Prilosec.

In their latest gut-wrenching, hair-yanking, stomach-churning affair, the football Minutemen prevailed over Rustburg, 39-34.

A game that was seemingly over after a mere one quarter of play, became a roller-coaster affair that Liberty iced only after quarterback Austin Porter dashed into the end zone with his team's final tallies of the evening.

Even then, that icing started to melt as Rustburg countered, scoring with less than a minute remaining.

It wasn't until Liberty's Marckel Bonds scooped up the subsequent on-sides kick attempt that the M-Men could safely log this one in the "W" column.

The victory gives Liberty four wins for the season.  Along with the last-second loss to Brookville, those five games have all been dramatic affairs.

"This is what's making me gray and old," sighed Liberty Head Coach Chris Watts after the game.

For the record, Watts a) has managed to retain his hair and b) the vast majority of that mane has no need for any Grecian Formula.

Alas, we can't vouch for what will happen, should his charges continue with their ways. 

Against Rustburg, the Minutemen got into an exhausting footrace, and nearly lost to the speedy Devils.

Liberty looked dominant in the early going.  Porter connected with Matthew Smith on a 48-yard scoring pass before causing a strip.  Bonds scooped the ball and rumbled 75 yards to make it 14-0.

Then Devin Carper capped off a Liberty drive with an end zone plunge, to make it 21-0.

"Then, we decided to stop tackling," lamented Watts.

Rustburg quarterback Anthony Lovelace took advantage of that state of affairs.  He scored on a pair of second- quarter runs.  The second TD came on a third-and-12 from the Rustburg two-yard line.

Lovelace weaved his way to a 98-yard touchdown.  During his saunter, he was missed by a half-dozen Minutemen.

Rustburg tied the game early in the third quarter when Lovelace found Brent Thacker with a 21-yard pass.  That score came immediately after Liberty snapped the ball over Porter's head, when he was back to punt.

To Liberty's credit, the team could have folded at this point.  Yet, the Minutemen were able to pull the rabbit out of the hat, even after the Devils went ahead, 28-27.

Porter showed tough leadership in scoring what should have been the last two touchdowns of the game.

But the last one came with over 1:30 left.  That was plenty of time for Lovelace to lead a quick scoring drive, capped off by his scoring strike to Thacker.  It wasn't until Bonds safely cradled the ensuing on-sides attempt could the Liberty faithful retire their rolls of Tums.

For this week.


Game notes

-Lukas Bodenstein, an exchange student from Germany took over placekicking duties for Liberty in the Rustburg game.  His kickoffs were strong, and he converted on a PAT.

Not bad for a guy who'd never played the game before.  Wilkommen bei Amerikanisch fussball, Herr Bodenstein!

-Rustburg finished with more first downs (20 to 14), more total yards (474 to 338), fewer turnovers (3 to 4) and less penalty yardage (30 to 45).  The only category in which they trailed was points.

-Carper (101 yards), Smith (75) and Porter (95) were the bulls on the ground for Liberty.

-Porter was 3-for-7 in leading the Liberty air attack  He threw one interception..