Highlanders get off to a rocky start

October 4, 2013

By Greg Farrar Marquise Lee (3), Hazen High School junior running back, outmaneuvers Liberty senior defensive back Kasper Lui Delange during the fourth quarter at Renton Stadium.

By Greg Farrar
Marquise Lee (3), Hazen High School junior running back, outmaneuvers Liberty senior defensive back Kasper Lui Delange during the fourth quarter at Renton Stadium.

It’s been a difficult start for the 1-3 Hazen High School football team, but as Highlanders coach Drew Oliver puts it, his young squad is close to breaking out.

“We’re so close to being a good football team,” he said. “We’re certainly not there by our record and not by our performance on Friday nights, but we’re doing a lot of good things in practice.”

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At midseason, Patriots hold even

October 4, 2013

The Liberty High School football team is holding steady with a 2-2 record at the season’s midpoint, posting two convincing wins, but two blowout losses.

The Patriots began their season against Eastside Catholic Sept. 6, the team that lost to Bellevue in the 3A state championship game last year.

By Greg Farrar Russell Boston, Liberty High School junior running back, hits the jets at the midfield stripe to outrun three Juanita defenders during his 62-yard touchdown run in the second quarter Sept. 27.

By Greg Farrar
Russell Boston, Liberty High School junior running back, hits the jets at the midfield stripe to outrun three Juanita defenders during his 62-yard touchdown run in the second quarter Sept. 27.

It was an ugly 62-9 loss for the overmatched Liberty squad, but from it emerged a proud, faithful student section that’s been a steady presence in all four games this season.

Liberty students stayed even after the Crusaders put 21 points on the board in the first quarter alone. They continued to cheer as the Patriots went into halftime, down 49-6. It was not the start they hoped to see from their team, but they showed their support nonetheless.

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Liberty outlasts Hazen in Sept. 13 showdown

September 17, 2013

By Greg Farrar Marquise Lee (3), Hazen High School junior running back, works to elude Liberty defensive back Kasper Lui Delange on a play during the fourth quarter of their Sept. 13 football game at Renton Memorial Stadium.

By Greg Farrar
Marquise Lee (3), Hazen High School junior running back, works to elude Liberty defensive back Kasper Lui Delange on a play during the fourth quarter of their Sept. 13 football game at Renton Memorial Stadium.

For the second straight year, it was the Liberty student section’s right to chant “We run Renton,” when the Patriots defeated the Highlanders, 28-7. Read more

Youthful Highlanders eye league title

August 30, 2013

The Hazen High School varsity football team breaks from its rally huddle Aug. 22 at the end of afternoon practice.

The Hazen High School varsity football team breaks from its rally huddle Aug. 22 at the end of afternoon practice.

The Hazen High School football team’s 2012 season was a mostly up-and-down affair, resulting in a 5-5 record, but the team put together one of their most complete efforts in the final playoff loss to Ferndale.

The Highlanders are trying to capture that moment in a bottle for 2013, building on the positives that came with that game, Hazen head coach Drew Oliver said.

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Patriots aim to reclaim tradition

August 30, 2013

No one was unluckier than the Liberty Patriots football team last year. An already thin-in-numbers squad was hit with injury after injury in 2012.

As the injuries piled up, so too did the losses in a tough KingCo 3A/2A Conference, on the way to a 3-7 record.

Luckily, things are already looking up for the Patriots as they prepare for the 2013 campaign with a much larger turnout than last year, which should help with depth, longtime Liberty coach Steve Valach said.

Greg Farrar Nate Solly, Liberty High School sophomore quarterback, kicks footballs Aug. 23 during a Patriot team practice.

Greg Farrar
Nate Solly, Liberty High School sophomore quarterback, kicks footballs Aug. 23 during a Patriot team practice.

“We have about 25 more kids than last year,” he said.

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Bulldogs JC football preps for inaugural season

August 30, 2013

For most high school football athletes, their career on the gridiron ends when the last of the Friday night lights flicker to darkness.

Some go on to play the sport at the collegiate level and beyond, but that isn’t an option for the majority. The itch to get on the field, tackle an opponent and be a part of a unique brotherhood is not easily tossed aside, though.

Greg Farrar Dalton Darlington (right), Liberty High School graduate and defensive lineman/linebacker, blocks an offensive lineman Aug. 6 during a Bellevue Bulldogs practice.

Greg Farrar
Dalton Darlington (right), Liberty High School graduate and defensive lineman/linebacker, blocks an offensive lineman Aug. 6 during a Bellevue Bulldogs practice.

The Bellevue Bulldogs junior college football team hopes to provide the relief to that itch, and encourage athletes to remain in school while continuing their career.

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Hazen, Liberty athletes selected for all-league teams

November 8, 2012

UPDATED — 3:25 p.m. Nov. 16, 2012

As the fall sports season comes to a close, athletes from Hazen and Liberty high schools are being honored for their athletic achievements as all-league teams are announced. Players and coaches select all-league teams annually. Email additional all-league honors to newcastle@isspress.com.

Hazen boys tennis

The following Hazen High School tennis players were named to the Seamount League all-league team:

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Hazen notches win streak just in time for playoffs

November 1, 2012

It’s been an up-and-down year for the Hazen High School football team, but the Highlanders seem to be hitting their stride just in time for the playoffs.

The team has won three of its last four games, ending the regular season with a 5-4 record, after a slow, 2-3 start to the season.

By Rob Nichols
Hazen High School quarterback Tony Nipert gets solid protection from his offensive line as he drops back to pass against Evergreen on Oct. 4 at Renton Memorial Stadium. The Highlanders beat Evergreen, 48-6.

“The whole season has been kind of a roller coaster,” Hazen coach Drew Oliver said. “There’s really only been one game that we haven’t been close. I think that the second half of the season has been more of what we wanted.”

The Highlanders began the second half of the season Oct. 4 with a 48-6 win against Evergreen. The team flourished behind a strong performance from Jordan Abdullah, who rushed for two touchdowns and more than 100 yards.

Hazen then fell to Bainbridge, 21-20, on Oct. 11. The Highlanders led Bainbridge 14-7 at halftime, but couldn’t hang on against the nonconference foe.

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Liberty remains a team while facing adversity

November 1, 2012

The Liberty High School football team went into the season believing in the acronym TEAM — together everyone achieves more.

It was the motto that drove and motivated a young, thin-in-numbers Patriots squad.

By Greg Farrar
Tynan Gilmore, Liberty High School senior quarterback, drags Mount Si senior defensive back Jimbo Davis into the end zone with his fourth-quarter punt return, as Patriot coaches on the sideline jump and raise their hands to celebrate his touchdown effort.

And even though the team finished its season with a 3-6 record and won’t be going to the playoffs, the acronym was truer than the team could have ever imagined.

“They picked as their motto, the acronym TEAM, and it’s really a cliché because everyone uses it,” Liberty coach Steve Valach said. “But the team really stood behind it and that’s who we are. We are going to be a team.”

The 2012 Patriots faced adversity throughout the season. Liberty was plagued by injuries, a tough predicament for an already small squad. While it didn’t translate to wins for the Patriots, it did bring the team together, Valach said.

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Injuries plague the Patriots after stumbling out of the gate

October 4, 2012

By Scott Coburn
Robbie Thomas, Liberty High School senior quarterback, drops back to pass during Liberty’s 25-22 victory over Hazen High School on Sept. 7.

After a rocky 2-3 start to the season, Liberty High School coach Steve Valach said his team needs to focus on taking care of the football and staying healthy, with just four games left in the regular season.

The Patriots opened their season with a 41-14 loss to a talented Eastside Catholic team.

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