Tyler Takeda/The Madera Tribune
Liberty’s defense of John Clay Cowger (43), Nick Hayes (52) and Adam Pearce (66) make the tackle on Corcoran’s Yovany Del Angel during the fourth quarter of Friday’s 49-12 victory over the Panthers.
CORCORAN — For the second straight game, the Liberty Hawks football team dominated its opponent and walked away with an easy victory over the Corcoran Panthers.
The Hawks gained 366 yards of total offense and scored on six straight possessions before allowing Corcoran two garbage-time touchdowns in the fourth quarter in a 49-12 victory Friday.
“Winning gives us confidence,” head coach Mike Nolte said. “Their coach told us after the game that we’re better than our record. I feel like we are. We played some good football teams early and had some bad breaks. Our kids are coming around and we’re going to get tested next week.”
The Hawks travel to Patterson to face the Tigers. Patterson’s lone win came last week against Escalon. Patterson defeated Escalon 23-13 while the Hawks lost to Escalon 21-20 three weeks ago.
“We’re getting better as a football team,” Nolte said. “Our execution is getting better. The last two games we’ve played, we’ve obviously been the better football team. I told the kids, it’s not who we’re playing against, it’s about how we’re playing. We have definitely made strides and improved each week, which is the goal.”
The Hawks defensive line of Javier Lopez, Nick Hayes, Ethan Clark and Brett Cazares set the tone against Corcoran. They forced two fumbles and Clark and Lopez came up with recoveries. They allowed 123 total yards for the Panthers. Corcoran had 12 plays for losses (37 yards loss). Of those 12 plays, the four starters were involved in 10 of them.
“Our kids up front on defense played great,” Nolte said. “It was nice to see the guys get off the ball and get pressure with having to blitz. It was a good team effort. They played hard.”
The Liberty running attack was in top form again. The Hawks rushed for 391 yards against Fowler last week and rushed for 327 Friday night against Corcoran.
Liberty’s three-headed rushing attack — Wyatt Roth, Kaleb Roth and Christian Baker — combined for 24 carries and 279 yards (86 percent of the team’s total) and four touchdowns.
After Patterson, the Hawks get a week off before beginning North Sequoia League play on Oct. 14.
“Each week, you want to get better, no matter who the opponent is,” Nolte said. “Regardless of the outcome, I’m just looking for my team to get better.”
The Hawks got an early chance after Lopez forced a fumble and Clark recovered at Corcoran’s 24-yard line. However, the Hawks turned the ball over on downs from the 15-yard line.
However, the Liberty defense, led by a tackle for loss from Cazares and Clark, forced a punt. From the 40-yard line, Wyatt Roth carried for 29-yards to the 11 yard line and he finished the drive with the touchdown.
After a trade in punts, Greyson Hoelzel picked off Corcoran quarterback Mark Dawes at the 11-yard line on fourth-and-eight.
The Hawks went on a seven-play drive, keyed by two 21-yard runs from Roth and a 32-yarder from Kaleb Roth. He closed out the drive with a seven-yard touchdown run. Michael Hamman hit the second of his seven point after attempts and has made 16 straight.
Wyatt Johnson picked of Dawes at midfield to lead to another Liberty touchdown. After a 20-yard run from Roth and a 19-yard run from Wyatt Roth, quarterback Markie Brandt finished a 20-yard run with a dive into the end zone for a 21-0 lead with 7:25 left in the first half.
Lopez and Christian Napier opened Corcoran’s next drive with a tackle for a four-yard loss. Brandt picked off Dawes and returned the interception into the end zone. However, the Hawks were called for a penalty and took over at the Corcoran 25.
Baker carried for 19 yards on the first play and finished the drive with a five-yard run and a 28-0 lead with five minutes left in the half.
The Hawks weren’t finished in the half. Tahner Green’s tackle for loss forced a punt.
It took Liberty just two plays to score. After Baker opened the drive with a 10-yard run, Brandt lofted a ball down the left sideline and Johnson jumped over a defender to haul the ball in. He kept his balance and finished the play in the end zone for a 25-0 lead with two minutes left in the half.
The Hawks got the ball right back after Baker forced a fumble and Lopez recovered.
Liberty scored three plays later when Baker scored up the middle for a 15-yard touchdown run and a 42-0 lead with 15 seconds left in the half.
The Hawks opened the second half with a running clock started with a seven-play, 59-yard drive to induce the running clock. On third-and-15, Kaleb Roth ran for 17 yards and a first down. Wyatt Roth went for 12, followed by Baker for 13 yards. Green gained 15-yards to the six and he finished the drive with his first touchdown of the season. Hamman’s extra point gave the Hawks a 49-0 lead with 4:40 left in the quarter.
Corcoran scored on a 14-yard touchdown run and a 31-yard pass play on the game’s final play.