Where Eagles Dare

Varsity football defeats Howell North 49-23 to win first ever playoff game


Eric Mason

Jordin Garey celebrates with Coach Zangriles.

Donny Robinson, Reporter

History was made Friday as the Liberty Eagles won their first ever playoff game against the Francis Howell North Knights 49-23. It was Liberty’s first ever home playoff game too which made it so much more important and exciting with a overall great feeling the entire game.

The Knights received the ball first and were quickly brought to a halt but so were the Eagles as they fumbled on the first play. Liberty forced another punt though getting the ball back.

The Eagles drove down the field now having the ball and Ben Adelsberger eventually got loose on a 16-yard run for a touchdown with Josh Paubel’s extra point. At 4:58 it was the Eagles on top 7-0.

When the Knights got the ball back, it didn’t take them long to score as Logan Minter caught a long pass from Pat Koester for a 74-yard touchdown but the Eagles did manage to block Marshall Hines’s extra point attempt.

Now the Eagles only led by one against the Knights 7-6 at 3:32.

On the ensuing kickoff, Jarrin McKeithen returned the ball 71 yards but no touchdown. It didn’t take long after this for the Eagles to score giving Adelsberger the ball again going 29 yards this time for the touchdown with another Paubel extra point.

At 3:14 the Eagles add to their lead 14-6 and that’s how it would be the rest of the first quarter.

Liberty’s defense forced the ball back into their hands in the second quarter and started driving down the field again with Blake Seaton pitching the ball to Zach Dotson on 3rd and 2 for 11 yards and Seaton taking it himself for 14 yards. The drive ended with Seaton going 3 yards into the endzone for the third touchdown of the night for the Eagles. The extra point by Paubel afterwards made the gap bigger for the Eagles who now led 21-6 with 4:13 remaining in the half.

The Knights got within 20 yards of the endzone when they got the ball back but the Eagles defense was determined on stopping them with the highlight plays being a broke up pass in the endzone by Luke Linden and an out of bounds interception by Conner Prince bringing it to 4th and 5.

The Knights decided to play it safe and go for the field goal and Marshall Hines nailed it right through from 20 yards out. Howell North now had put some points on the board but Liberty still had the lead 21-9 at 0:37.

It was Liberty’s first ever home playoff game too which made it so much more important and exciting with a overall great feeling the entire game.

Liberty tried moving down the field but couldn’t get there in time as Blake Seaton threw an interception to Jalen Flemming. The second quarter ended on that and it was still all Liberty with a score of 21-9 going into halftime.

Liberty got the ball back at half and drove down field right from the get go. Liberty got to the Howell North 28 and Seaton pitched it over to Jordin Garey for his touchdown run along with a Paubel extra point. 6:39 remained in the third and the Eagles had widened the score 28-9.

Pat Koester was feeling like Aaron Rodgers but probably felt like Nathan Peterman after he threw a bomb that was intercepted by Prince at the Eagle 24 yard line which resulted in a turnover.

Seaton hiked the ball and got into some trouble but McKeithen helped him by catching the pass and getting to the Knights 26. Seaton felt like passing again as he hit up an open Tyler Cotton for 26 yards and a touchdown. The Paubel extra point afterwards really expanded Liberty’s lead 35-9 at 3:56.

The Knights tried getting back quickly as they tried to do their best impression of the Eagles last scoring play with Koester connecting to Cameron Lewis for a 47 yard touchdown pass with the Hines PAT too. With little time left in the third at 2:13, Liberty still was up 35-16.

Liberty got the ball back and were trying to drive down field before Seaton threw another interception to Khaliq Thomas.

Koester’s pass attempt to Tyler Tolliver was broken up by Prince who was having quite the night in the secondary. Koester tried throwing again but to Lewis and Luke Linden knocked it away in the endzone. Dotson saved the Eagles on the next play with an interception taking it 16 yards. The third quarter was over and the Eagles were ready to finish it still leading 35-16.

The fourth quarter started with Jordin Garey taking full control taking off 38 yards for a 1st down followed by another one a few plays later having 8 yards. Seaton gave Garey a break by taking it himself with a 24 yard keeper getting to the 4 yard line. Seaton then handed it off to Garey again for a 5 yard touchdown with of course a Paubel PAT. With a little under 4 minutes in the fourth at 8:44, the Eagles were up even more at 42-16.

Literally 5 seconds, Koester fumbled the pitch to his running back and Grant Baker recovered it for a turnover. Seaton then handed the ball off to Garey one final time for a 21 yard touchdown run and his third of the game. Paubel’s extra point finished off the Eagles scoring for the night putting them up 49-16 with 8:31 remaining.

Howell North would fumble again when they got the ball back but Liberty would cough it back up to them. Koester threw a long 68 yard pass to Minter putting them in good field position. Lewis was handed the ball and ran in for a 25 yard touchdown but the Knights were penalized for a block in the back so the points were no good. Lewis would eventually get a second chance when he caught a 20 yard pass for a touchdown. Hines kicked the extra point through and with 0:11 left the Eagles were so close to the end still beating them 49-23.

Backup quarterback Reece Davidson took a knee and the 10 seconds left on the clock ran down and history was made. The players came to play for sure such as Ben Adelsberger who had 75 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns, Jordin Garey 118 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns

Liberty now faces Fort Zumwalt North this week on Friday, Nov. 2 at Fort Zumwalt North. The Eagles have already played the Panthers this year in which they lost 35-8 but look to turn the tables against them as Reed Sutton said that the game “is going to be a fight” so you will not want to miss this one for sure.