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Inside the Game: Escalon Cougars 21, Liberty Hawks 20

Players of the game: Liberty’s Ethan Clark was a force on the defensive line. Clark did that and led the linemen with 14 tackles, includin three solo tackles. Kaleb Roth played the outside and led the team with 16 tackles, including five solo tackles.

Unsung hero of the game: Free safety Markie Brandt was covering the back end and was one of four players to record double-digits in tackles with 11. Brandt was also efficient at quarterback, completing five passes for 77 yards while rushing for 26 yards and a touchdown. He also punted three times for a 35.3 yard average.

Plays of the game: Trailing 21-20, the Hawks were forced to punt to the Cougars with about five minutes left in the game. Early on the final drive, Escalon faced a fourth-and-one, but fullback Tim Costa ran for a four-yard gain. Liberty also forced Escalon in a fourth-and-two with about two minutes left in the game, but Costa gained five for another first down and ran out the clock with a 21-play, 72-yard drive.

Dive of the game: Liberty only had six drives in the game and scored on three of them, including their first drive of the second half. The Hawks forced a Cougars punt on the opening drive of the second half. Liberty took over from its own 20. Kaleb Roth carried for 12 yards on third-and-three and Brandt hit Greyson Hoelzel for a 15-yard gain on third-and-10. Facing third-and-seven, Brandt hit Roth for a 14-yard gain and another first down. Facing a third-and-two at the eight, Roth carried for three to the five. Two plays later, Roth scored from four yards out to cut the lead to 21-20.


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