Patriots go 2-2 in second half
October 31, 2013
By Christina Corrales-Toy
With just one game left in the season, the Liberty Patriots football team has a final chance to punch its ticket to the postseason.
Holding steady with a 4-4 record, it all comes down to the Nov. 1 regular season finale at Mount Si.
It won’t be easy going up against the Wildcats, one of the top 3A teams in the state, Liberty coach Steve Valach said, but as always, he expects his boys to “play to win.”
The Patriots went 2-2 in the second half of the season, beginning with a 34-24 loss to Lake Washington Oct. 4.
The Patriots led the Kangs 3-0 after the first quarter, behind a 40-yard field goal by kicker TJ Johnson. The teams went into halftime tied, 10-10, thanks to quarterback Nate Solly’s 22-yard touchdown pass to Lorin Archibald.
A big third quarter sealed the win for Lake Washington, though, as the Kangs scored 21 points.
Liberty added another passing touchdown with Solly’s 12-yard shot to Austin Sivret, and a 5-yard Kasper Lui Delange rushing touchdown.
Lui Delange led the team in tackles with 9 1/2, followed by Romney Noel with 5.
The Patriots bounced back the week after, defeating Sammamish, 33-20, on the road Oct. 11.
Running back Russell Boston had two rushing touchdowns, while Romney Noel, Drew Hall and Wyatt Johnson each had one.
Boston led the team with 7 1/2 tackles, followed by Hall, who had 6 and a quarterback sack.
The next week, Liberty captured what Valach called the team’s “most significant win since 2010,” when they scored a come-from-behind victory on the road against Mercer Island Oct. 18.
The Patriots were down 28-20 heading into the fourth quarter, before scoring 15 unanswered points to take the 35-28 win.
Boston rushed for 208 yards and scored three touchdowns on runs of 67, 27 and 17 yards. Drew Hall and Romney Noel each added touchdowns of their own.
“We went in knowing that was a game that if we played well, and we got a few breaks, we felt that it was a game we could win,” Valach said.
After giving up points to the Islanders, the Liberty defense stepped up in the second half of the game. Defensive lineman Charles Hansen had a key sack of Mercer Island’s quarterback and junior linebacker Kacy Thomas forced a fumble that led to the game-tying score.
A week later, it was Liberty’s turn to face the juggernaut that is Bellevue High School football, and, similar to most teams, the Patriots didn’t have an answer for the nationally-ranked Wolverines in the 38-7 loss.
“Bellevue is Bellevue, and they are one of the premier teams in the country,” Valach said. “When you play them, you ask yourself, ‘How are you going to measure success,’ and I think it’s all about your fight, your effort and your finish.”
Valach said he saw that fight in his team, but it wasn’t enough to quell the surging Wolverines. The Patriots’ lone score came with just four minutes left in the game when senior Archibald caught a 10-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Solly.
Liberty will now travel to Mount Si where a chance at a playoff spot is on the line. While Liberty hopes to come home with a win against the Wildcats, ranked fifth in the state, Valach said, no matter what, he has enjoyed leading the 2013 Patriots.
“I think these guys have one agenda and their agenda is team, and their motto is fight,” he said. “I love the fight in them.”