Warren County 7
Liberty linebacker Bryan Roof had just driven Warren County running back H.B. Banjoman into the ground in the backfield Friday night when he jumped up, pumped his arms and screamed. He could sense that the Eagles were taking control of the game by containing the Wildcats' biggest offensive threat.
The Eagles' defense became the first in eight games this season to limit Banjoman to fewer than 100 yards rushing, and Liberty running back Adrian Hull took care of the rest. Liberty ended its two-game losing streak with a 47-7 drubbing of Warren County at home in a AA Northwestern District game.
"We played as a team," Roof said. "Everybody was reading their keys, and everybody was staying in their spots. We played with more heart."
The Eagles' victory was balanced. The defense harassed Banjoman throughout the game and held the Wildcats (5-3, 3-2) to 240 total yards of offense. Liberty's offense was effective on big plays. The Eagles (6-2, 3-2) ran six plays from scrimmage in the second half and scored 28 points.
"We really, truly needed this game tonight," Liberty Coach Tom Buzzo said. "It wasn't anything we did differently. We just played with a different attitude."
Liberty's defense gave up 42 points against Handley last week and faced a challenge Friday in containing Banjoman. The Wildcats' 5-foot-10, 205-pound quarterback/running back had rushed for more than 200 yards in 10 of his last 13 games dating from last season. Liberty was the only team to hold him to fewer than 100 rushing yards last season.
"Their defense was really tough in containing me tonight," Banjoman said. "I knew it was going to be tough tonight to break anything loose."
It took until the second quarter for the Eagles' offense to get going, but it poured on the points when it finally did. Warren County had the ball at its 20-yard line, trailing 7-0 with three minutes remaining in the first half. But when Warren County failed to run out the clock, Liberty managed to get two more possessions and scored touchdowns on both.
Hull highlighted the offensive surge. After Liberty blocked a punt late in the first half, he scored his second touchdown of the game on a two-yard pass from quarterback Jeremy Ulrich that made the score 19-0 at halftime.
In the second half, Hull atoned for a fumble by returning a punt 47 yards for a touchdown and running 54 yards for another. He finished the game with nine carries, four touchdowns and 108 yards rushing.
The win put Liberty back in contention for the district title.
Said Buzzo: "I think you saw a Liberty High School football team, the kind I like to coach."