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Inside the Game: Liberty Hawks 33, Escalon Cougars 27

Players of the game: It can’t be overstated how much the team leans on running back/linebacker Kaleb Roth. He led the team, again, with 15 tackles, a week after recording 20, second best in school history. He also carried the ball 20 times for 178 yards and scored two more touchdowns to help lead the Hawks to their second highest rushing total in school history (502). In just three games, Roth has 500 yards rushing with seven touchdowns. His impassioned speech at the half helped the Hawks outscore Escalon 20-7 in the second half.

Quarterback Greyson Hoelzel gave future Liberty opponents a bigger headache with his running game Friday. Coaches have to concerned with the Roth brothers and Rylan Howe up the middle. However, Helzel scored two rushing touchdowns and gained 76 yards on 10 carries. He had big runs of 28 yards for a touchdown, 18 yards and 23 yards. He also was the key defender on Escalon’s best receiver and recorded five tackles.

Unsung hero of the game: Fullback/linebacker Rylan Howe is sometimes the forgotten man behind the Roth brothers. However, he gained 72 yards on 11 carries with a long run of 27 yards against Escalon. He also was third on the team with nine tackles and assisted on a tackle for loss. He is the one head coach Mike Nolte calls upon to get the tough yards up the middle, but can also blast for a long run.

Play of the game: The Hawks took possession late in the fourth quarter nursing a six-point lead. They faced a third-and-4. Nolte called on Roth’s number and he carried around the right side for a 17-yard gain. A face mask penalty added 15 more yards and the Hawks ran out the clock to end the game.

Drive of the game: Trailing 27-25 early in the fourth quarter, the Hawks took over on its own 11-yard line. Wyatt Roth gained eight yards for a first down and Kaleb Roth broke a run for 19-yards. On third-and-four, Howe got the carry up the middle and gained 27 yards to the Escalon 23-yard line. Kaleb Roth carried for eight and Howe got the first down with three-yards. On third-and-goal from the four, Greyson Helzel kept the ball on a read option and scored into the right corner of the end zone for the eventual game-winning touchdown.


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