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September 27th, 2023

lhs football defense 51Hudson Rice (51) tackles Emporia running back Rylan Crowell Friday night at Redskin Field. The Angry Red defense kept the Spartans in check throughout the night in a 47-14 romp. L&T photo/Earl WattEARL WATT • Leader & Times


After surviving a battle with Holcomb the week before by scoring a game-winning touchdown in the final 20 seconds, the Redskins wanted to set the tone early against Emporia Friday night at Redskin Field.

They did just that.

Brooks Kappelmann found Zayden Martinez near the sideline on the first play for the Redskin offense, and Martinez juked a defender and scampered 68 yards for a touchdown to light the fuse on an offensive explosion that ended with a 47-14 win.

Liberal’s second possession was hampered by a penalty, but despite facing a third-and-18, Kappelmann again found Martinez, and not only did he convert the first down but galloped 84 yards for back-to-back touchdowns and a 12-0 Liberal lead.

The Spartans put together long drives but couldn’t convert those drives into points, and after moving the ball from their own 20 yard line to Liberal’s 21 on 14 plays, Emporia turned the ball over on downs.

The Redskins only needed three plays to move the ball 79 yards including a 44-yard touchdown run by Kappelmann to give the Redskins an 18-0 lead in the first quarter.

The Spartans put together a another long drive that consumed six minutes for 17 plays and 61 yards. But a field goal attempt missed wide, and the Redskins took over at their own 20 yard line.

The Redskins kept the ball on the ground for nine straight plays including a 22-yard run by Kappelmann and a 31-yard run by Ivan Moreno.

Liberal marched 80 yards and capped the drive wirth a one-yard plunge into the end zone by Kappelmann for a 24-0 lead.

Emporia had a 10-play drive to move the ball out to midfield before Adan Mata ended the threat with an interception.

Liberal opened the second half with a seven-play, 78 yard drive that included a 28-yard pass to Erek Lira and ended with a 29-yard touchdown run by Kappelmann, and the Redskins had a 30-0 lead.

Emporia finally broke through late in the third quarter with a nine-play, 74-yard drive that was aided by a personal foul penalty against the Redskins and ended with a five-yard touchdown pass to cut Liberal’s lead to 30-7.

Four plays later the Redskins were back in the end zone after a 22-yard pass to James Fieser and a 38-yard touchdown run by Xavier Porras, and the Redskins led 37-7.

Emporia attempted to convert a fourth down at its own 42 yard line on the next drive, but the pass fell incomplete, and the Redskins only needed one play for Kappelmann to find Martinez inside the 10 yard line for a reception, and Martinez sprinted the rest of the way for his third touchdown of the game and a 44-7 Liberal lead.

Liberal added a field goal midway through the fourth quarter, and after massive substitutions by the Redskins, Emporia was able to score a late touchdown for the 47-14 final.

The early start set the tone.

“We were working on zone runs and zone blocking,” Liberal coach Bryan Luetters said. “We gave the ball to one of our best players in space. His guy was 12 yards off, so we took the shot and it worked out. It was good to see a quick start after last week.”

Liberal also focused on the offensive line, and the effort paid off.

“We were running some zone, and we challenged the offensive line,” Luetters said. “They had a tough week. We ran inside all week. They are finally clicking a little bit. We had Enrique Perez at center. We had Erek Lopez at center last week. He got sick early this week. Enrique got his shot. He played very well tonight. Snaps were perfect. He was a junior with no varsity action, and the o-line blocked really well.”

Liberal started with a three-man defensive front but adjusted at half.

“Last week they threw the ball six times the entire game,” Luetters said. “If we had three down linemen, we thought they would run at us. They did. We bent but didn’t break. That is a frustrating offense. They will be a lot better next year. They are trying to do a lot of things. They got some tunnel screens even though we repped it at practice. We got frustrated a little bit. They drove it at us and scored. There’s always something to work on.”

The Redskins moved to 2-0 and will travel to Topeka for a rare Thursday night game.

“We are not letting up,” Luetters said. “We have to go live and keep getting better at tackling.”

The Lady Saints get a block at the net against Pratt Saturday. Courtesy photoSpecial to the Leader & [ ... ]