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Sports · November 23, 2013

Sherando eliminates Liberty from playoffs, 34-12

Photos/Lawrence Emerson
Liberty defensive lineman Todd Parker (65) stops Sherando quarterback Reid Entsminger, who had a big game.
Eagles QB Aaron Walters recovers his own fumble near the goal line on a scoring drive.
Ja Quan Sinclair (24) and Sean Carter (46) bring down Warrior running back George Aston.
Garrett Utterback fights for yardage after one of his six catches.
Liberty linebacker Matt Nailor (15) chases Entsminger.
Running back Nelson Hogan follows a convoy of blockers.
I told the kids they should be proud. They rattled off six straight wins (after starting 1-4). They won the district outright, won the county, got another Bird Bowl trophy.
— Liberty Coach Sean Finnerty
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Sherando rolled past visiting Liberty, 34-12, in a second round playoff game Friday night.

The Warriors (11-1) dominated the first half on their way to 475 yards of total offense.

The Eagles (7-5) struggled early and trailed, 21-0, at halftime. In the first two quarters, they mustered just 61 yards of total offense and two first downs.

“When you shut down a team offensively, it makes a big difference,” Sherando senior quarterback/defensive back Reid Entsminger said. “Then, if you have a solid ground game, everything else just falls into place.”

Entsminger had just such a night. He passed for 220 yards and a touchdown, while running for 93 yards and a TD.

“We’d get them in third down situations and (Entsminger) just made play after play with his feet,” Liberty Coach Sean Finnerty said. “He did some great things. Those were long, sustained drives.”

Twice in the first half, the Warrior quarterback ran from punt formation to pick up first downs.

Still, the Eagles hung tough and trailed, 14-0, with 3:44 left in the first half.

A great punt by Thomas Smith pinned the Warriors at their own 5-yard line.

Entsminger led Sherando to the Liberty 34 with 7 seconds on the clock.

He dropped back to pass, almost got sacked, rolled right and threw to the end zone. Junior wide receiver Zachary Wagner made a sliding catch just across the goal line at the right pylon.

Sherando took a three-touchdown lead to the locker room.

“We should have gone into half trailing, 14-0,” Coach Finnerty said. “He made a play . . . 21-0 at half; that hurt a bit.”

Entsminger kept his foot on the accelerator as the second half started. On the first play from scrimmage, he made a strong play-action fake and hit senior running back Daniel Eppard down the middle of the field with a 34-yard pass.

Four plays later, Sherando scored its fourth unanswered TD.

Liberty began to move the ball for the first time but lost two turnovers in the third quarter. The Eagles defense responded in both cases to force punts, but by then they trailed 34-0.

Two fourth-quarter Liberty touchdowns made the score look better.

“Sherando’s really good,” Eagles sophomore quarterback Aaron Walters said. “They just came out and smacked us in the mouth. We were kind of shocked.”

Still, Liberty believed it could come back, according to Walters.

“We’ve been in these situations before,” he said. “We scored 49 points last week (against Handley). We can score quickly.”

Senior linebacker Matt Nailor agreed: “We came out (in the second half) and we were ready to play. We stopped ’em a couple of times, but we turned the ball over.”

Coach Finnerty said he saw things that could have turned the game, but Liberty would have needed to play almost flawlessly to beat the disciplined, veteran Warriors.

“They’re a real good team, and I think they’re gonna go far,” he added. “They just executed so well tonight.”

Of the 7-5 season, Finnerty said: “I told the kids they should be proud. They rattled off six straight wins (after starting 1-4). They won the district outright, won the county, got another Bird Bowl trophy, the only team that beat Eastern View this season . . . . The kids got some great wins, the win over Kettle Run, the redemption win (over Handley in the playoff opener) last week. They should be proud of their season.”

Sherando next Friday will host Courtland.

1 2 3 4 Final













First quarter

— LeeQuan Johnson, 15-yard run (5:24), Rhett Morris kick.

Second quarter

— George Aston, 1-yard run (11:15), Morris kick.

Sherando — Zachary Wagner, 34-yard pass from Reid Entsminger (0:00), Morris kick.

Third quarter

— Aston, 8-yard run (9:52), kick wide.

Sherando — Entsminger, 1-yard run (4:12), Morris kick.

Fourth quarter

Liberty — Rodman Munson, 1-yard pass from Aaron Walters (8:11), kick wide.

Liberty — Ja Quan Sinclair, 1-yard run (5:01), pass failed.

First downs
Liberty 9, Sherando 18

Total yards
Liberty 203, Sherando 475

Liberty 26-93, Sherando 49-255

Passing yards
Liberty 110, Sherando 220

Liberty 12-19-1, Sherando 8-13-1

Liberty 2-1, Sherando 1-1

Liberty 4-25, Sherando 4-30

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