By Ted Waddell
LIBERTY What a way to celebrate Pride Week at Liberty High School.
By defeating the visiting Millbrook Blazers, 21-0, in Friday night’s Section IX Class C football game, the Liberty Indians moved closer to a berth in the upcoming sectionals.
With the win, Liberty improved its record to 3-4 overall and 3-2 in Class C. Ellenville has already clinched the Class C regular season title and, with its victory over Spackenkill on Friday night, Sullivan West earned a spot in the Class C semifinals. Three teams, Liberty, Millbrook and Spackenkill, are vying to finish either third or fourth in the standings in order to earn the other two spots in the semifinals.
Early in the first quarter, Indians’ senior fullback Brandon “The Beast” Tompkins ran for a first down which set up a first-and-10 at Millbrook’s 17-yard line. A pass completion from quarterback Marshon Williams to Jovaughen Clark was followed by a Williams run to the goal line.
With 1:08 to go in the opening stanza, Tompkins scored on a 1-yard run.
In a play that faked everyone out, including the announcer, Michael McLean’s two-point conversion put Liberty up 8-0. Williams pulled off a proverbial Houdini as he appeared to slip the ball into the waiting hands of Tompkins, but actually gave the ball to McLean.
In the second quarter, Tompkins teamed up with Javier Baez to sack Blazers QB James Ross as he was setting up for a screen pass.
Near the close of the quarter, Millbrook (4-3, 2-3 Class C) tried a counter running play, but Tompkins and a host of defensive linemen stopped the play.
With 44 seconds left until halftime, Clark reeled in a 35-yard TD pass from Williams. The PAT kick was good, and the Indians led 15-0 at the intermission.
As the Blazers were knocking at Liberty’s end zone door in the third quarter, they fumbled but recovered.
But when Millbrook fumbled again, Tompkins recovered the ball to end the scoring threat.
With 4:37 left in the game, Tompkins scored his second TD of the night on a 2-yard rush. The PAT kick came up short, but Liberty had its shutout victory.
Meanwhile, up in the announcer’s booth, Liberty Athletic Director Jason Semo pumped up the crowd and the heat.
“The louder you cheer, the warmer you get,” he said to the fans.
Williams led the Liberty rushing attack by carrying the ball 19 times for 129 yards. Tompkins rushed 10 times for 40 yards and Eddie Soto and Akeem Granum ran for 26 yards apiece.
Williams completed 3 of 5 passes for 44 yards. Clark caught two of those passes for 44 yards.
Tompkins led the Indians’ defense with 10 tackles, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Soto had six tackles and a sack, Logan Finley made six tackles, and Williams registered five tackles and a forced a fumble.
In addition, Nelson Saravia and Paul Heisler each had four tackles and a sack and Clark made three tackles and a fumble recovery.
“We lost to a better, more physical team,” Millbrook Coach Sean Keenan said. “They lined up and drove up and down the field on us.
“We went into a goal line defense and we still couldn’t stop ‘em,” he continued. “They are a well-coached, disciplined, hard-nosed team and they played 10 times better than us tonight.”
Clayton Pinnock paced the Blazers’ ground game by gaining 36 yards on 10 carries, while teammates Peter Keenan and David Hollingsworth each ran for 23 yards.
“I thought our kids just played fantastic right from the start,” Liberty Coach John Wilhelm said. “It was a total team effort, everybody played their butts off. I’m so proud of our kids.”