Good Luck

October 30th, 2020

shelter article new 2 sept====FROM OCT. 16, 2005====


By Earl Watt

The script was a very familiar one.

Liberal finds itself in a close game in the fourth quarter and needs picture perfect defense and just a little bit of offense to win.

And for the fourth time this season, they got it.

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Two solid drives in the second half put the Redskins one step closer to the post-season.

But another slow start on offense forced the defense to perform at championship level.

According to the old adage -- offense wins games, but defense wins championships -- a defense alone cannot win a game. It takes some offense, any offense.

In the first half, Liberal's offense struggled as much as it had all season.

But in the second half, glimmers of hope shot through as the Redskins scored on two of their five possessions. The drives were sustained drives.

And both drives were very different.

The first, which was needed to tie the game, mixed a controlled passing attack with the run.

Big catches were made by Zach Jackson and Reece Petty with precision timing from Mark Grande, something that wasn't happening in the first half.

After a fake reverse, Grande was able to hit a wide open Blake Warner in the end zone to tie the game.

And the defense, after surrendering some pass plays in the first half, buckled down and denied the Vikings the opportunity to reach the goal line.

The best Winfield could do was muster a 44-yard field goal attempt that wobbled low and left.

But Liberal struggled on its next two possessions, as did Winfield, and it looked as though the game was destined for overtime.

Enter John David Willimon.

The senior tailback hoisted the ball, and the Redskins, down the field, melting the clock along the way and finally punching it in with less than a minute to go to give Liberal a 13-7 lead.

Along the way Willimon exhibited the leadership the team needed.

He didn't showboat after gaining the necessary yards to move the sticks. He headed back to the huddle for the next play.

When he scored and his teammates charged toward him, he told them to head for the sidelines, that the Redskins did not need a celebration penalty.

Other Redskins had mental lapses throughout the evening and drew flags.

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But with the game on the line, Willimon provided the pep and the patience, the drive and the restraint to put Liberal ahead and keep them there.

Still, Liberal is only averaging a little more than 14 points per game this season, and it's going to take a few more in the final weeks to extend the season.

Yes, the defense has been outstanding, but they need some help.

Willimon provided a spark Friday night, but the Redskin Nation is still watching and waiting for the powder keg to ignite.

In a way, the playoffs have already begun.

And this is where Liberal has been the most successful in the past 15 years. Liberal is now 44-2 in district games in that time period.

Two more to go.

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