By Ted Waddell
LIBERTY October 3, 2000 Despite a flat first half, the home team Liberty Indians woke up in the second half to defeat the Bears of Tri-Valley 15-0 in Thursdays non-league football game.
In the opening half, the Bears seemed on their way to putting points on the scoreboard as brothers named Alex and Durk Pearston repeatedly picked up some hard-won yardage against a determined Liberty defense, only to see their gains called back on motion penalties.
At 10:19 in the first quarter, Libertys Rudy Houghtaling picked off a Josh Lowitz pass to end a Bears drive. A few minutes later, with 5:41 remaining in the opening quarter, Billy Gorman returned the favor by intercepting a Vince Evans pass to shut down an Indians drive.
The game remained scoreless until the third quarter when Liberty began to turn up the heat as Mike Poje put one through the uprights from 32 yards at 3:41 to give the home team a 3-0 lead.
In the opening play of the final quarter, Libertys Mike Kaiser recovered a high snap from the TV center after the punter bobbled the ball on the Bears 35 yard line. On the following play, Joe Colacurcio picked up 15 yards as he broke through the Tri-Valley line. Next up was Poje, who took the ball into paydirt from the TV 10 at 10:26 to put Liberty up 9-0. Pojes PAT was blocked.
At 3:04, Indians QB Vince Evans completed his first varsity touchdown pass, as he connected on a play action two-yarder to Todd Davis in the corner of the end zone to end the scoring at 15-0.
The Poje PAT was deflected by the TV defensive line.
As the clock ticked down, Houghtaling made his second interception of the day as he picked one off to end Tri-Valleys hopes of making it onto the scoreboard.
We played a pretty good first half
our defense did a good job of holding them to a field goal, said Bears coach Max Stolzenberg. After that, they were able to move down the field on us. They solved our defense.
We have a ways to go, he added. We need not to beat ourselves and have a little more gas in the tank in the second half.
According to Indians coach Mike Castelli, he thought it was another hard hitting game between two Sullivan County schools.
Tri-Valley didnt play like a 0-4 team, he said. For the first time this year, I thought we were outhit in the first half.
Castelli said he challenged his offensive line to take it to the Bears in the second half. I told my guys were not going to do anything fancy
lets just run it right up the middle. And they did.
Liberty QB Vince Evans was thrilled with his first varsity TD pass completion.
It felt great, he said. The running backs made a great defensive read and stepped up to block instead of carrying out the play action, and that gave me time to complete the pass.
It was a good game, said Poje. We were a little slow in the first half, but we really picked it up in the second half. We did what we had to do.
Liberty stats: Poje (102 yards on 12 attempts including); Colacurcio (8/64); Nick Rusin (9/31); Evans was 4/6 for three yards.
For the Indians defense, Bob Boomer Krom and Colacurcio made a couple of critical sacks.