Hawks overtake nemesis; remain undefeated
Madera Tribune File photo Liberty fullback Kendall Malone breaks free in the open field for a long run. He gained 190 yards rushing and receiving in a 48-7 victory in 2014 over Washington Union.
In an almost perfect end to Homecoming week, the Liberty Hawks football team exorcised all of its past demons with the Washington Union-Easton Panthers with a dominating 48-7 victory that saw a running clock at the end.
“I was proud of the way the kids responded with the challenge we faced tonight,” head coach Mike Nolte said. “They had some playmakers and our kids responded to the challenge. They responded all week. We had a great week of practice. They were really ready for this game.”
The Hawks hadn’t beaten Washington Union since joining the North Sequoia League in 2008, including the past two seasons when the Panthers were the only blemish on Liberty’s Valley Championship runs.
The Liberty offense churned out 549 yards of total offense, including 449 yards on the ground. Fullback Kendall Malone had 190 yards rushing and receiving while leading the Hawks with 135 yards rushing. Wade Wallace, crowned at halftime as the school’s Homecoming King, gained 129 yards with three touchdowns. Richie Brandt had 111 yards and a touchdown.
“I always home we can control the game with the run,” Nolte said. “To be able to break big runs like tonight is always a good night. Teams give a lot of respect to Wade and Richie. It opens things up for Kendall. He deserves it. He does a great job blocking for those guys. When we have a chance to give him the ball and he can make big runs like that is nice to see.”
Led by middle linebacker Hunter Gray’s team-high 14 tackles, the Hawks limited Washington Union to just 114 yards of total offense. That total included a 60-yard screen pass touchdown for Washington’s lone score.
Hawks can’t match big plays
The Liberty Hawks jumped out to a 13-0 lead, but watched the lead vanish when the Washington Union-Easton Panthers scored 34 straight points in John Ventura Stadium.
The Hawks added a late touchdown, but the Panthers secured a 37-20 victory to send the Panthers into first place in the North Sequoia League.
One of the keys for the Hawks heading into the game was to limit Washington Union’s big play capabilities. Unfortunately, the Panthers were still explosive, scoring on touchdowns of 60 and 32 yards and five plays of 20 or more yards, including four of 40 or more yards.
Meanwhile, the Hawks had three plays of 20 yards or more and two went for touchdowns.
Jackson Watts got a season-high 16 carries for 130 yards and a touchdown. Chad Wallace also got 16 carries for 63 yards. Markie Brandt had his fourth game of 100 or more yards passing in the last five games. He was 10-of-15 for 132 yards and a touchdown.
Hunter Gray recorded a team season-high with 15 tackles, including two for losses. Seven of his tackles were solo tackles.
Stallions lose close battle with defending Div. I champs
After losing to the top-ranked squad in the section, the Madera South football team had to face the defending Div. I Valley Champion Edison-Fresno.
Looking for the program’s first win against the Tigers, the Stallions had a two-point lead heading into the fourth quarter but a late Edison touchdown was the difference in a 37-32 loss Friday night.
It was a far cry from its previous meetings with Edison which included a 52-7 loss at home last season and 48-7 defeat in 2013.
After losing 45-14 to Bullard-Fresno, the Stallions hoped to bounce back against an Edison program that lost several key players to graduation from a team that went 12-2 and earned a state playoff berth last season.
While Madera South scored on five rushing touchdowns including four from quarterback Jonah Johnson, the Stallions’ defense also allowed five scoring runs including the game-winner with 5:35 left.
Coyote XC girls take 3rd in Mt. Sac
The Madera cross country team along with the Madera South boys were part of the big turnout at the 68th Mt. Sac Cross Country Invitational.
Competing at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, the Coyote girls came away with third place while the boys completed a top-10 finish on the 2.93-mile course.
Leading the girls was senior Jasmine Gonzalez, who took third overall.
Madera’s Nicole Nava (10th, 20:21), Alexis Miguel (29th, 21:36), Olivia Zambrano (31st, 21:52), Adriana Cortez (35th, 22:08), Ruth Martinez (45th, 22:42) and Lissette Maciel (59th, 23:36) each played a pivotal role in helping the Coyotes place high behind winner San Marcos (26 points) and runner-up Scripps Ranch (48).