You didn't think this would be easy did you? Liberal finally snapped a 19 game WAC losing streak that lasted five years Friday night. Liberal beat Dodge City 40-27 in a game which ended shortly after midnight Saturday morning and included a two and a half hour lightning delay. Liberal beats a WAC team for the first time since defeating Dodge City at Redskin Field in 2008 under coach Tom Schroeder.
Liberal's defense stood tall holding Dodge City to 290 yards. The Skins made three goal line stands and forced two turnovers. The defense held the Demons in check thanks in part to many dropped passes by DCHS receivers. The defense also shrugged off excellent Dodge City field position after recovering Liberal's onside kicks.
Liberal made a goal line stand on Dodge City's opening drive before LHS quarterback Britton Abbott fired an out pattern to Trenton Hammond who reached over the cornerback for the catch and raced 94 yards for a touchdown at the 7:36 mark to make it 6-0. Dodge City's kicker Dillon Burkhard kicked a 35 yard field goal with a 38 mile per hour wind at his back. Red Demon signal caller Kelan Newton scored on a bootleg left for a 12 yard score to make it 10-6 DC with 1:12 to play in the first.
LHS took the lead in the second quarter at the 11:05 mark when Rex Heronemus ran it in from eight yards out to lead 12-10. Abbott's 14 yard TD run gave LHS an 18-10 lead at the 9:18 mark which ballooned to 20-10 when Abbott found Lorenzo Pando for the two. Newton found tight end Eric Reid for a five yard score to pull DC withing 20-17 after the PAT. But the Redskins had a few tricks up their sleeve. Lorenzo Pando executed a double pass for 59 yards to Nolan Larkin. Pando would flip a reverse pass to quarterback Abbott for a score to make it 26-17 LHS. A Larkin interception during the closing moments of the first half prevented the Demons from drawing closer.
Dodge City completed their homecoming ceremony and we had about two minutes before the second half was set to start before lightning filled the night sky. The lightning delay lasted two and a half hours.
It was about 10:45 when the second half finally resumed and Demon kicker Burkhard booted a 50 yard field goal to make it 26-20. Blaik Middleton's nine yard score at the 6:20 mark of the third quarter gave the Red Demons the lead 27-26. Dodge would not score again.
Britton Abbott's one yard touchdown capped a drive which included two 15 yard penalties against DC. Alan Fraire, who was active all night a middle linebacker, recovered a fumble with 2:51 to go in the third. Abbott feathered a 39 yard pass to Trenton Hammond to give LHS a 40-27 lead after a two point conversion from Abbott to Larkin with 2:05 to play in the third.
The Redskins had about 520 yards of offense and Abbott passed for 292 yards including two scores to Hammond and rushed for 106 yards and two scores.
Liberal snaps a four game losing skid against the Red Demons. Liberal is 3-1 for the first time since 2008. The Demons are 2-2 and 0-1 in the WAC. Liberal is 1-1 in the WAC joining Garden City and Hays while Great Bend is 1-0 and DC is 0-1.
Liberal hosts Garden City for homecoming Friday night at 7 with Redskin Pre-game at 6 on 1270 and kscbnews.net.