Hawks ready to defend league title
Tyler Takeda/The Madera Tribune
Liberty running back Quentin Stewart makes a move against a Coalinga defnder to score on a 35-yard touchdown run early in Friday’s scrimmage.
The Liberty Hawks football team had some highlights fans can expect for the upcoming season before its home crowd during a scrimmage with Coalinga and Riverdale.
Unfortunately, home fans won’t be able to see the defending North Sequoia League champions at Liberty until mid-September because the Hawks are on the road for the next three weeks — at Firebaugh, at Mendota and at Chavez-Delano.
“It was a good scrimmage for us,” head coach Mike Nolte said after Friday’s scrimmage. “We’ve been going against Coalinga for so long. We’re trying to stay healthy and try to limit the full-speed stuff we do. Tonight was full speed all the time. It’s a little of an adjustment for us. Hopefully, the scrimmage was good for us. We’ll see next week. “
During the first part of the scrimmage, Coalinga scored on its first drive against the Hawks. However, the Liberty defense held tough inside the red zone on the next two Horned Toads possession.
“It took us a few plays for us to get adjusted to the speed,” Nolte said. “Coalinga came in ready to go. I think we settled in pretty good.”
Liberty only scored once on its first offensive session. Quentin Stewart highlighted the session with a 35-yard touchdown run, which included numerous broken tackles and a nifty spin move around the Coalinga free safety.
“Quentin is having a good start to the year and we hope that will continue to improve,” Nolte said. “Tyler Miller will also be a featured back. Our fullback situation is up in the air a little bit, but we hope it settles soon.”
However, Liberty couldn’t keep the momentum going with a fumble and interception on its next two drives.
Against the second string, Coalinga drove down the field on a long, sustained drive for a touchdown. Liberty fumbled on its first possession and ran out of plays at the nine-yard line.
Liberty opened its scrimmage against Riverdale with two touchdown drives against the starting Cowboys’ defense.
The Hawks’ defense held Riverdale to just one yard on its first drive. A second drive resulted in a Cowboys’ touchdown that was keyed by a long pass and the third drive didn’t result in a score.
“The defense did a good job against Riverdale,” Nolte said. “They have a couple of good receivers, but we have to get better covering the pass.”
Liberty came back with a pair of touchdown drives, including a long pass from Diego Piedra to Aramel Villa for a touchdown.
Riverdale came back on offense and used all of its plays to score a touchdown against the Liberty defense.
The Hawks open the season Friday night at Firebaugh with kick-off at 7 p.m.