Liberty Hawks 34, Patterson Tigers 28
Player of the game: When you set a school record, you should be a player of the game. That’s exactly what Markie Brandt did Friday night and that’s why he is the player of the game. Although, at times, he was forced out of the pocket, he still put up throws where his receivers could catch them. He and the coaching staff found a huge hole in the Patterson defense that Kaleb Roth exploited for 92 receiving yards. Brandt broke the school record for passing yards in a game with 270. He also threw for three touchdowns, gained 64 yards rushing, including a season-long 43 yard run and contributed two tackles on defense.
Unsung heroes of the game: Brandt may have thrown for 270 yards, but he had to have people catch the ball. The main targets had a good night with Greyson Hoelzel and Wyatt Johnson combining for three catches for 122 yards and all three touchdowns. Johnson made an incredible leaping catch for a touchdown and Hoelzel caught a pass over the shoulder for a 70-yard catch-and-run for his only reception of the game. Johnson also had his best night returning punts, averaging 22 yards on five returns.
Play of the game: Trailing 21-7, facing a fourth-and-15 from the Patterson 26, Brandt was forced out of the pocket to his right. While running, Brandt sent a desperation pass to the end zone. Johnson read the pass, made the adjustment, jumped up and hauled in the pass in the end zone to cut Patterson’s lead to 21-14. Liberty outscored Patterson 20-7 the rest of the way for the win.
Drive of the game: The Hawks tied the game with almost four minutes left in the fourth quarter. Tackles by Ethan Clark, Wyatt Roth and Brett Cazares forced a Patterson three-and-out. After a punt, Liberty started a go-ahead drive at the 40 yard line after an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Tahner Green got the drive going with a 27-yard run to the Patterson 33-yard line. Brandt then carried for nine yards and Christian Baker got the first down at the 22-yard line. Two-yard gains from Green, Roth and Baker moved the ball to the 16-yard line and the Hawks faced a fourth-and-four. Head coach Mike Nolte called out the field goal team and Michael Hamman knocked in a 33-yard field goal on his first attempt of the season to give the Hawks a 31-28 lead at the end of the third quarter. Hamman later knocked in a 27-yard field goal for the final score of the game.