Defense Leads Eagles To Victory


Sruthi Ramesh

Senior Riley Laws pushes his way through the Lions defense to defend the ball.

Ally Schniepp, Sports Editor of the Ledger

The Eagles took control of the game from the second play and set the tone for the rest of the game in which they won, 20-8. It didn’t take long for the Liberty defense to make an impact and set the tone for the rest of the game Friday against Fort Zumwalt East.

On the second play of the game, Lions quarterback Brennan Wilson threw the ball directly to a player, just not one on his team. Senior Sam Arrington intercepted the pass and ran it into the endzone for the first touchdown of the game and his first varsity touchdown as a defensive player. The clock read 11:34 left in the first quarter and the Eagles were already up 6-0.

“I was hyped,” Arrington said. “On defense, you hardly get a chance to contribute to scoring, so scoring before your offense gets on the field is a great way to get into your opponent’s head.” 

After this unusual, mold-breaking play sophomore quarterback Noah Kuehner threw an interception that East capitalized on. Wilson used this possession to his advantage and scored a quarterback keeper with 6:33 left in the half. With the touchdown tying up the score, the Lions decided to go for the two-point conversion. Wilson ran the ball into the endzone once again to put the Lions up for the first and only time in the game, 8-6. 

Later on in the game, Kuehner went for a long pass to senior David Richard that resulted in a pass interference on East and a flag on Richard for unsportsmanlike conduct. 

“First half was definitely a struggle,” senior Warren Gann said. “The second half I feel like we fixed everything we needed to fix and we scored some touchdowns that we obviously needed.”

After a long period without any momentum for either team, junior Ethan Weiler got a break for the Eagles by running it up the middle through a hole in the Lions defense. Weiler had a grand total of 72 yards in eight drives against East this game. Weiler’s break caused sophomore Austin Steenbecke to get around the defense on the next drive and score the Eagles second touchdown of the game. Kuehner went for a two-point conversion, and successfully ran it into the endzone to put the Eagles back on top of the Lions, 14-8.

The Lion’s quarterback attempts to stiff-arm Jordan Bishop on an offensive run. (Sruthi Ramesh)

On the punt return, senior Alex Fillner (12) ran it from their 29-yard line and pranced into the endzone mimicking Deion Sanders, which the refs flagged as an early celebration. The student section and the parents united on this call and many voices bombarded the refs with criticism on the call. It would have been around 141 yards for Fillner had the touchdown been counted. 

The next drive for the Eagles after the almost touchdown resulted in a Kuehner handoff to senior Jordan Smith and he scored on a 20-yard run with 3:08 left in the third quarter. Liberty attempted another two-point conversion, which fell short, making the score 20-8. 

Throughout the remainder of the game, both the Eagles and the Lions got a flag for unsportsmanlike conduct. After the Lion flag, tensions were running high on the field as the hot-blooded players tried to keep themselves from engaging in a fight with the other team. While this was happening on the field, the stands were having the time of their lives while dancing and singing to “22” by Taylor Swift that was being played from the press box. 

The final score between the Eagles and the Lions was 20-8 with Liberty dominating the game from start to finish. 

“I think this win helped spark a hidden energy that we haven’t played with in past weeks that hopefully we can carry from week to week going forward,” Arrington said. 

The Eagles improved to a record of 3-4 while Zumwalt East fell to 1-6. Liberty hosts Zumwalt North on Friday for its home finale.

Liberty             6     0     14     0 – 20

Zumwalt East 8     0      0     0 – 8

First Quarter
L: Sam Arrington 17 interception (kick failed), 11:34
F: Brennan Wilson 7 run (Brennan Wilson run), 6:33

Third Quarter
L: Austin Steenbeke 3 run (Noah Kuehner run), 5:56
L: Jordan Smith 20 run (run failed), 3:08