Photos by Fred Tingle
Liberty's offensive line paved the way, while its defense forced five turnovers in Friday's 42-0 win over visiting Kettle Run.
Hakeem Johnson scored from 34 yards out on the game's second play, setting the tone for the Eagles (8-1) against their archrivals.
A 15-yard penalty for interfering with a fair catch on the opening kickoff, the first of many costly Cougars mistakes, set up that opening score.
Kettle Run (6-3) then fumbled on its first possession, when the Eagles caught quarterback Denzell Champion in his backfield for the third consecutive play.
Liberty defensive end Coty Breeden had a hand in all three sacks.
Lineman R.J. Proctor recovered the ball on the Eagles' 37.
"It's a night to remember," Breeden said. "First time I've had a couple sacks and stripped a ball loose. We were exploding off the line and went where we had to be. It felt amazing. I never have done nothing like that before."
Champion got shaken on the second sack and hurt even more when he fumbled.
Playing just one more series, the senior left the game, yielding to reserve Bailey Branham.
"After we lost Denzell, we became one-dimensional," Cougars Coach Jeff Lloyd said. "He hurt his shoulder in the first game of the season and has played hurt all year. After getting hit a couple times, it didn't make any sense keeping him in the game with the playoffs coming up."
Said Champion: "After getting hit the second time, I had no zip on the ball when I tried to throw."
Nine plays later, Liberty quarterback Aaron Walters scored the first of his two touchdowns on a 12-yard run.
The Eagles scored three more TDs in the second quarter to set up a running clock for the entire second half.
Senior wide receiver Anthony Spagnoletti made it 21-0, when he caught an Aaron Walters pass for 28 yards.
Spagnoletti scored again when he took a pitch from Walters on an option play, running in from the 10.
"I was hoping for one score but not two," Spagnoletti said. "I had no idea Aaron would throw to me. He usually dumps the ball underneath. But it was a perfect pass into the end zone."
The final touchdown of the second quarter came on the longest run of the night.
Senior running back Martin Parker followed Proctor off the left side of the Eagles' line, leapt over a Cougar and ran 64 yards into the end zone.
Parker finished with 195 yards on 19 carries.
"We had a hard time with their options," Lloyd said. "Liberty has some big kids up front and they beat up our big kids. We didn't tackle."
He praised the Eagles' offensive line.
"They're as good as any high school level team I have ever coached against," Lloyd said.
After intercepting Branham the second of three times, Liberty put together a final scoring drive in the fourth quarter.
It took six plays and a defensive holding penalty before Walters scored from the 5.
Despite the lopsided loss, Kettle Run senior wide receiver David Eldridge, bound for the University of Virginia, set a school, single-game record with 11 receptions. That gives Eldridge 40 for the season, also a school record.
His 102 yards gave him 1,580 for the year.
But, the Cougars also failed to score for the first time in more than five years.
Meanwhile, the Eagles rushed for 393 yards, the second-most Kettle Run has yielded in its seven-season history.
Kettle Run will visit Eastern View (9-1) next Friday, while Liberty travels to Warrenton for the "Bird Bowl" with Fauquier (5-4).
1 2 3 4 Final
Scoring summary First quarter Liberty Hakeem Johnson 34-yard run. (Tommy Smith kick, 11:41). Liberty Aaron Walters 12-yard run. (Smith kick, 3:54).
Second quarter Liberty Anthony Spagnoletti 31-yard pass from Walters. (Smith kick, 11:14). Liberty Spagnoletti 10-yard run. (Smith kick, 7:31). Liberty Martin Parker 60-yard run. (Smith kick, 2:04).
Fourth quarter Liberty Walters 5-yard run. (Smith kick, 4:18).
Final Statistics Total Yards Kettle Run 255 Liberty 432
Rushes/Yards Kettle Run 31/114 Liberty 40/393
Passing Completions, attempts, interceptions, yards Kettle Run 16-27-3-141 Liberty 2-4-0-39
First downs Kettle Run 16 Liberty - 17
Penalties/Yards Kettle Run 4/45 Liberty - 4/35
Fumbles/Lost Kettle Run 3/2 Liberty - 0/0
Rushing Leaders Kettle Run - Denzell Champion 13 for 53, Bailey Branham 10 for 27, Austin Lewis 6 for 20, Jake Beathard 1 for 11, Keion Lewis 1 for 3. Liberty - Aaron Walters 6 for 78, Martin Parker 19 for 195, Brent Smith 9 for 66, Hakeem Johnson 1 for 34, Anthony Spagnoletti 2 for 12, Cameron Yates 3 for 8.
Passing Leaders Kettle Run Branham 13 of 24 for 115, Champion 3 of 3 for 26. Liberty - Aaron Walters 2 of 4 for 39. Receiving Leaders Kettle Run - Eldridge 11 for 102, Keion Lewis 2 for 21, Quay Payton 2 for 9, Austin Lewis 1 for 9. Liberty -Spagnoletti 1 for 28, Noah Estep 1 for 11.
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