Good Luck

November 26th, 2020

celebratewebIzzy Garcia (3) gets a high five from Easton Zapien (14) while Aldo Avalos (54) joins in after Garcia caught a touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter in Great Bend. The Redskins knocked off the Panther 22-14. L&T photo/Earl WattBy EARL WATT

Leader & Times

GREAT BEND — After an 0-4 start to the 2020 season, the Liberal Redskins now have a streak  a winning streak.

The Redskins followed up their 20-6 win over Garden City on Homecoming with a 22-14 win over Great Bend Friday, and all of Liberal’s scores came through the air.

With standout Jaylin Staten on the sideline with a knee injury, the Redskins had to look for other playmakers, and Izzy Garcia helped fill the void along with others who had to help a depleted defense.

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Great Bend started the game with a 7-0 lead after an opening drive that went 66 yards on 11 plays and ended with a 23-yard run for a touchdown.

But Liberal’s Trystian Juarez suffered an injury on the  drive, and the Redskins had to start making defensive switches.

The Redskins responded by putting together a 55-yard drive that included 10 straight running plays and ended with an 18-yard touchdown pass from Shay Kerr to Malcolm Wiltshire, and with kicker Ayden Schwindt not available to play, the Redskins converted a two-point conversion to take an 8-7 lead.

Great Bend took a 14-8 lead after a Zapien fumble gave the Panthers the ball at the 48 yard line, and the Panthers scored with a 12-play scoring drive that ended with a three-yard touchdown pass.

Liberal had a drive reach the red zone before half, but Kerr threw an interception in the end zone, and the Panthers drove down inside the Liberal 30 yard line before Wiltshire intercepted a Panther pass in the end zone.

Neither team scored in the third quarter, and after the Redskins stopped the Panthers on a fourth-and-six at the Redskins 41 yard line, the Redskins put together a nine-play, 59-yard scoring drive that ended with a 13-yard touchdown pass form Kerr to Garcia, and after Hunter Huskey caught a pass from Kerr for the two-point conversion, Liberal had a 16-14 lead.

The Redskin defense forced another Panther stop when an incomplete pass on fourth down gave the Redskins the ball at the Great Bend 37 yard line with 5:25 to play in the game.

The Redskins started to work the clock, but the Panther defense forced a fourth-and-10.

Kerr took the snap, and after he faked a handoff, he double pumped and threw the ball toward the goal line where Garcia was in a one-on-one match-up with a Great Bend defender. As they both ran to the goal line, the defender fell, and Garcia caught the ball and crossed the goal line uncontested for a 22-14 lead.

The Redskins failed t the two-point conversion, and that left Great Bend within eight with 2:14 to play.

The Panthers marched down to the Liberal 18 yard line, but a fourth-down pass sailed out the back of the end zone, and a Kerr kneel ended the game with the second straight Redskins win of the season.

Zapien led the Redskins with 120 yards on 23 carries. Kerr rushed for 20 yards on eight carries, and Alex Esparza had 50 yards on eight carries.

Kerr also completed three of nine passes for 69 yards including one interception and three touchdowns.

“The coaches have showed a lot of confidence in me which I am super grateful for,” Kerr said. “We’ve worked situations like this all week. To come out and execute, it’s a great feeling.”

Kerr has thrown a combined five touchdown passes against Garden City and Great Bend.

“It’s been really good,” Kerr said. “A lot of that comes from the offensive line. They are killing it. They have definitely improved since the beginning of the season, and a lot of guys have stepped up. The seniors are being the leaders we need.”

The fourth down pass was key.

“I talked to defensive coordinator and asked if we can stop them,” Liberal coach Jason Dunlap said. “I asked the offensive coordinator. We’ve been losing, so I said let’s go for it.”

Dunlap credited receivers coach Eric Olmstead for the execution. 

“Receivers practice scramble drill,” Dunlap said. “That’s a young kid normally not in that spot. That’s Jaylin’s spot.”

The win secured a second-place finish for the Redskins in the Western Athletic Conference.

Liberal (2-4) will travel to Wichita to face Kapaun (4-1).

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EARL WATT • Leader & Times


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