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Democrat Photo by Ted Waddell

LIBERTY FOOTBALL COACH Jim O'Connor watches a group of players hit the sleds during a recent practice.

Liberty Looks For A ‘W’

By Ted Waddell
LIBERTY — It takes a lot of heart and guts to get back on the football field after a 0-9 season.
But that’s exactly what Liberty Coach Jim O’Connor thinks his team will bring to the plate this autumn.
Last year, O’Connor and Assistant Coach Phil Fanning put together a varsity program after it fell on hard times due to a lack of students willing to commit to the rigors of the local gridiron.
For the 2006 season, O’Connor is back at the helm. He is backed up by Assistant Coaches Derek Adams, Scott Harmon, Adam Ramirez and John Wilhelm.
Fanning has moved down to the modified team in order to help the younger kids learn the fundamentals before climbing the ladder to varsity football. He and Ron Schulte will coach the modified squad.
“The numbers are up and the kids are trying hard, and we’d like to go out and win a ball game,” O’Connor said.
Liberty, which is one of the nine Class B teams competing in Section IX, will begin its season tonight. The Indians will visit the Chester Hambletonians for a non-league game. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.
The Indians’ first home game will be against the Tri-Valley Bears at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 16.
Andre Brand, a 17-year-old senior, returns as quarterback, while Joey Ruiz is all set to take over as needed.
“It feels good, excellent,” said Brand of coming back at QB. “I can’t wait to get in the game, and get us a ‘W’ for once.”
Asked what high school players get out of banging helmets on the field besides winning and losing, Brand replied, “Basically, it molds you into being a man, learning to have fun and not taking anything for granted.”
Sixteen-year-old junior Trevor Tompkins is one of the team captains. The other captains are Kyle Raven and Ben Froelich.
What’s Tompkins get out of football?
“How not to take anything from other people, be tough and be a man,” he said. “How not to quit.”
O’Connor’s thumbnail sketch of the season?
“The plan is one game at a time,” he said.

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