Sherando 19, Liberty 14
Since the beginning of the 2003 season, the Northwestern District has been dominated by one team: Liberty. In fact, Liberty had not lost a regular season game since a Nov. 8, 2002, defeat at the hands of Fauquier at a time when most of the current Eagles' players were not on the field.
That streak ended Friday night against visiting Sherando, 19-14, and its strong-armed freshman quarterback, Ross Metheny. Metheny shredded No. 13 Liberty's defense, completing 16 of 24 passes for 233 yards and two touchdowns, the second of which came early in the fourth quarter when he found Clint DeHaven in the back of the end zone to give the Warriors their winning margin.
"I've lost two postseason games, but this is the first in the regular season, and I don't know what to do," said senior Bryan Roof, who has been a starter since 2003. "None of us really knows what to do. It's a new feeling for us."
When the Eagles (5-1 overall, 2-1 Northwestern) look at the film from the game, they will undoubtedly see multiple errors that led to their demise. On Sherando's opening possession, the Warriors (4-2, 2-1) took the ball to the Liberty 5-yard line. On third down, Corey Lillard intercepted Metheny's pass in the end zone, but instead of kneeling, Lillard carried the ball out of the end zone and fumbled it back to Sherando on the 5-yard line. Two plays later, Warriors running back Joe Oher plunged into the end zone to tie the game at 7-7.
Late in the second quarter, the Eagles incurred a false start penalty on a fourth down and were taken out of field goal range. They were able to get the ball back with less than a minute remaining in the half, and Liberty quarterback Jeremy Ulrich hit Mike Munson for what appeared to be a 15-yard touchdown in the waning seconds, but a holding penalty negated the play.
"We did some things that you just can't do in a big game," Liberty Coach Tom Buzzo said. "We have made simple mistakes all year long, and we made them tonight at very costly times."
Aaron Hull gave Liberty a 14-13 lead on a five-yard run late in the third quarter, but Metheny led the Warriors on a 12-play, 71-yard drive in the beginning of the fourth quarter that included the winning score.
"Sherando is a good football team, and we knew what we were going against," Buzzo said. "Their freshman stepped up, and he was the difference in the game tonight."