All season long, Liberty defeated opponent after opponent.
All except one.
The first time they played Vickery Creek, Liberty lost 16-13 in a game right before fall break.
They got their chance at redemption in the championship on Tuesday, and they didn't waste it. This time, Liberty defeated Vickery Creek 38-16 and claimed the middle school championship.
According to Liberty head coach Scott Williams, the keys to victory started with their confidence.
“After we played them the first time this year, [our kids] just had some confidence going into this game,” Williams said. “That they could execute our plan, and they did that. They played very well. In fact, I think that we played our best game of the season yesterday, and that’s what you want to be doing. You want to improve each week, and then by the end of the year, you have an opportunity like we did [Tuesday] night to be playing your best ball. And they did that.”
Andrew Davis and Logan Haas each ran for two touchdowns, and Max Walraven added another score for Liberty. Walraven also threw three two-point conversions, two to Charlie Delp and one to Ellis Alldredge. Andrew Avila also ran in a two-point conversion. Jackson Purdy and Dalton Tallant also played well, according to Williams.
Liberty led 16-0 at halftime with Davis scoring both touchdowns. They stayed ahead by two scores the rest of the way.
From the beginning of the season, Williams had high expectations for this team.
“At this level, having kids return is a delicacy,” Williams said. “Especially with seventh- and eighth-graders, you get them for two years at the most, and a lot of the time, those seventh-graders aren’t necessarily ready to play eighth-grade football. But for this class, I believe we had eight or nine returning starters, which at this level, that’s gold. They had that experience of playing last year as seventh-graders, and it just carried over into the season. Our expectations from when we started back in April was to win this championship. They trained for it over the summer. They worked hard, and they carried that through August, September, and finally came back and had an opportunity to get a second chance to play a team that beat us, that kept us from having a perfect season.”
That experience paid off in the rematch, as Liberty was able to rebound and execute much better than they did the first time.
“I don’t think that we executed very well in that first game,” Williams said. “There was a couple plays on special teams that we would like to have back. I definitely question myself. There was a couple times in that first game that maybe we could’ve kicked a field goal and that would be the difference. You always second-guess yourself when you do that. But we didn’t do that and there’s some things coaching-wise that I would’ve liked to have back from that first game, especially on our first drive. Defensively speaking, we just played a lot better technique when they were running the jet sweep or the fly sweep, whatever you wanna call it.”
Liberty finished its season with an 8-1 record and a championship trophy.