Tyler Takeda/The Madera Tribune
Liberty running back Wyatt Roth (32) gets an escort from Colton Cardoza during an 18-yard run on his first carry of the game. Roth rushed for a career-high 266 yards with six total touchdowns.
TEMPLETON — The perfect recipe for heading into its by week was a win against Templeton for the Liberty Hawks football team.
The Hawks did just that after a Week 4 loss to Kennedy-Delano. The Hawks scored 53 first half points and cruised to a 67-27 victory over the Templeton Eagles on Friday.
“They handled the loss really well,” head coach Mike Nolte said. “They came focused this week and realized the importance of the game after a loss.”
The Hawks received a career game from running back/linebacker Wyatt Roth. He rushed for 266 yards (just three yards short of the record his brother set last year) and a school record five touchdowns. He set another school record for most touchdowns in a game when he returned the first of his two interceptions for a touchdown.
“Wyatt had a good game,” Nolte said. “There were a lot of good things for him today.”
Roth scored on touchdown runs of 24, 68, 3, 34 and 52 yards. He had 12 carries and averaged 22 yards per rush. The Hawks gained 576 yards of total offense, including 461 yards on the ground.
“I thought we could move the ball on them,” Nolte said. “You ever expect the yardage and the scoring, but I thought we could move the ball. They are a new team to our section and we showed them this is how our section plays football.”
Seven different Hawks carried the football and five different players caught passes from Bradley Miller, including Eric Halverson, who caught a 54-yard touchdown.
“It’s exciting to see those reserves have success,” Nolte said. “Those kids come to practice and work as hard as everyone else. Any time we can get those kids in and they can have success is great. I’m proud of them.”
The Hawks scored on eight of their nine drives. The other drive ended on downs late in the fourth quarter.
Templeton went to the air for a majority of its yards. Quarterback Jack Trimble threw 61 passes Friday night, completing 41 for 470 yards and three touchdowns. However, he also threw three interceptions.
The Hawks got on the scoreboard just 13 seconds into the game. Landon Howe received the opening kickoff at the Liberty 12-yard line. He took the ball to the right side, found a seam through the Templeton kickoff team and outran the rest of the Eagles for an 88-yard kickoff return touchdown.
The Eagles earned three first downs on their initial drive, including a 43-yard one-handed reception by Marino D’Alfonso, who caught 12 passes for 193 yards and a touchdown. The Eagles drove the ball to the one-yard line.
Roth and Rylan Howe stuffed Templeton’s Blayne Twisselman for a two-yard loss. After Trimble threw an incomplete pass, Howe, Nick Hayes, and Angel Lugo stopped Twisselman for a two-yard gain. On fourth down, Hayes deflected Trimbles pass on his pursiuit of the quarterback to turn the ball over on downs.
The Hawks methodically drove down the field. Tyler Miller gained 14 yards. Roth gained 18 and Howe gained another 10. After a penalty, Roth carried for 19-yards. After an incomplete pass, Miller rushed for 28 yards. Roth finished the drive with a 24-yard touchdown run with 7:03 left in the first quarter for a 14-0 lead after Bradley Moon’s second of seven extra points of the night.
However, Templeton responded with a 10-play, 68-yard drive, all pass plays, to cut Liberty’s lead in half. Trimble found D’Alfonso at the 10-yard line. He eluded a defender and went down the sideline for a 13-yard touchdown.
Liberty answered on its next drive. On third-and-15 from the Liberty 32-yard line, Roth took an inside counter behind Brad Wallace and Nick Hayes for a 68-yard touchdown run beating the Templeton defense for a 20-7 lead with 2:58 left in the first quarter.
The Liberty defense forced a three-and-out from the Eagles and Liberty took over at its own 46. On third-and-15 from the Liberty 41, Bradley Miller found Bradley Moon for a 27-yard pass completion for a first down.
Seven plays later, Roth scored on a three-yard touchdown run to extend Liberty’s lead to 27-7 with 10 minutes left in the first half.
The Eagles, helped by a 39-yard pass reception off a tipped pass, drove inside Liberty territory. However, Templeton was hit with a pass interference penalty and turned the ball over on downs.
Roth carried for 19 yards and Miller hit Colton Cardoza for a 27-yard catch-and-run. Howe then carried up the middle for an 11-yard touchdown run with 7:54 left in the half.
Templeton completed three straight passes to get inside Liberty territory. Two more pass plays got the Eagles to the one and a Twisselman run cut Liberty’s lead to 34-14 with five minutes left in the first half.
Three plays later, Liberty added to its lead. Tyler Miller gained 12 and Howe gained eight to the 45-yard line. Roth went around the left side behind a Cardoza block for a touchdown run just 30 seconds after Templeton’s score.
Templeton then drove 84 yards on eight plays, seven passes, to score on a six-yard touchdown pass. The point after cut Liberty’s lead to 40-21.
Tyler Miller gained 16 yards on the first play of the next drive. Roth then went around the left end again for a 52-yard touchdown run, his fifth of the night, to give the Hawks a 47-21 lead with 1:35 left in the half.
After an initial first down, Trimble tried to find a receiver, but Roth jumped the route. He ran it the rest of the way for a 27-yard interception return for a touchdown and give the Hawks a 53-21 lead at the half.
On the fourth play of the second half, Trimble faced a fourth-and-one. Facing pressure, Trimble tried to throw the ball away, but Roth was there for a diving interception.
After Tyler Miller gained 11 on fourth-and-three, Howe scored from a yard out for a 60-21 lead to start the running clock.
Templeton got an initial first down with a 35-yard gain up the middle. Two plays later, Trimble tried the same pass, but Moon tipped the ball up. Miller tipped it away from a defender and Cardoza ended the tip drill with an interception.
The Hawks scored three plays later. Bradley Miller found uncovered receiver Eric Halverson on the right. Halverson took the pass and took off down the field. He raced into the end zone to close the Liberty scoring with a 54-yard touchdown catch-and-run with two minutes left in the third quarter.
“They didn’t even cover Halverson,” Nolte said. “I thought this was going to be okay. Once he caught the ball and had that space, they weren’t going to catch him He’s fast.”
Templeton followed with an eight-play, 69-yard touchdown drive for the 67-27 final score.