Inside the Game: Liberty Hawks 35, Washington Union 20
Player of the game: Liberty fullback Christian Baker seemed like a man on a mission Friday night. He ran with his usual toughness and battered his way through Washington Union defenders. He finished with a career-high 152 yards rushing to go with two touchdowns. The total is the highest Liberty rushing total of the season and he now has 14 touchdowns. He also had four tackles. Unfortunately, the rest of the season may be in jeopardy. He fumbled a carry through the back of the end zone while the Hawks were driving. However, on the next carry, he broke many tackles for a 10-yard gain and set the Hawks up for their final score. However, while the Hawks were trying to milk the final minutes off the clock, Baker tried to gain extra yards while staying in bounds and he injured his knee. Early prognosis was not good, but no official word has been given.
Unsung hero of the game: Tahner Green originally started the season as a defensive back. However, he was moved to outside linebacker to take advantage of his speed. He was able to showcase that Friday in making a team-leading six tackles, including three unassisted tackles. He also had two tackles for losses and assisted another and picked off a pass off a tip from Greyson Hoelzel. He will be counted on next week to fill in for Baker while the offense moves ball carriers around.
Play of the game: It’s a combination of plays. In the middle of the fourth quarter, the Hawks were driving, but Baker was hit from behind, fumbled the ball and inadvertently kicked it out of the back of the end zone resulting in a turnover and Washington Union taking over at the 20-yard line. Two plays later, Green kicked off a pass tipped by Hoelzel and returned it to the 17-yard line. Head coach Mike Nolte gave the ball to Baker and he delivered with a hard-charging run, breaking numerous tackles before he was brought down at the seven-yard line to keep the Liberty momentum. Wyatt Roth scored on the next play to secure the 35-20 victory.
Drive of the game: The usual game plan against the Panthers is to sustain long drives that score points while keeping the explosive Panthers off the field. The defense did its job all night, limiting Washington Union to just one play of 20 or more yards. The offense set the tone on the first drive on the night. Beginning at its own 20, Liberty started an 11-play touchdown drive. Markie Brandt hit Kaleb Roth for an important third down conversion on the game’s third play. That would be Brandt’s lone completion. Brandt carried for eight and another first down. Baker had the big play with an 18-yard run to the Panthers’ 18-yard line. Roth carried for 10 yards and Brandt finished the drive with a four-yard run for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead with 7:25 left in the game.