By Rob Potter
ROSCOE An early lead proved to be the difference in Friday afternoon’s non-league football game between the visiting Liberty Indians and Livingston Manor/Roscoe Devilcats at Roscoe Central School.
Liberty took a 14-0 lead in the first quarter and never looked back on its way to a 42-6 victory.
The Indians received the opening kickoff and proceeded to move the ball quickly down the field. Senior running back Efrain Baez put the Indians on the scoreboard with a 4-yard run. Ryan Henry then booted the ball through the uprights for the extra-point, which made it a 7-0 game.
On the subsequent kickoff, Liberty (2-0) tried an onsides kick and recovered the ball. Although the Devilcats stopped the Indians on the drive, the Devilcats were not able to keep the Indians out of the end zone for long.
The Liberty defense then held LMR, which gave the Liberty offense excellent field position. Senior quarterback Marshon Williams capped the Indians’ drive with a 2-yard touchdown run.
The Liberty advantage grew to 21-0 early in the second quarter when Williams scored on a 5-yard run.
With 1:35 left in the second quarter, Liberty senior running back Anthony Covington took a handoff from Williams and ran up the middle for a 39-yard touchdown. Henry added the PAT kick to give the Indians a 28-0 lead.
The Devilcats tried to get on the scoreboard on their next possession. But on third down, the ball popped loose and Liberty’s Daniel Ramirez recovered the fumble to give his team possession with 27 seconds left until halftime.
Twenty-two seconds later, Williams threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Henry. The snap was bad on the extra-point kick and holder Quinn Jackson threw the ball to Williams in the end zone for two points, which gave the Indians a 36-0 halftime lead.
LMR (1-1) received the kickoff to begin the third quarter and proceeded to move the ball deep into Liberty territory. But the drive ended when Liberty senior defensive tackle Daniel Hopkins intercepted a pass and returned a few yards to the 22-yard line.
After the Indians gained 5 yards on first down, junior running back Kenny Jaycox took a handoff from Williams and eluded a couple of would-be tacklers on a 73-yard touchdown run to give Liberty a 42-0 lead.
The Devilcats scored their only touchdown of the game late in the fourth quarter. Mike Mills scored on a 1-yard quarterback keeper with 1:37 remaining to cap a 61-yard drive.
Jaycox led the Liberty offense by rushing for 164 yards on nine carries. Covington also carried the ball nine times, gaining 90 yards. Williams had 10 carries for 66 yards, while Baez had two carries for 18 yards and Joe Franke ran once for 2 yards.
Williams completed 3 of 5 passes for 76 yards. Catching those passes were Franke (38 yards), Baez (23 yards) and Henry (15 yards).
“We’re very happy to get the win,” Liberty Coach John Wilhelm said. “We played well today. We were able to move the ball down the field and we played well defensively.”
Wilhelm also praised the Devilcats for they way they competed.
“They played well and moved the ball on offense,” he said. “A couple of times, they had the ball inside our 5-yard line.”
While he is pleased to start the season with two victories, Wilhelm noted that the Indians have some very important games coming up.
“Our season really begins now as we have three league games,” he said of contests against fellow Class C teams. “We are really focused on those games.”
Liberty will host James I. O’Neill at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 17 and host Ellenville at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 23.
Troy Correa and Mills both played quarterback for LMR in Friday’s game. Mills completed 5 of 10 passes for 63 yards, while Correa completed 3 of 6 passes for 16 yards.
Mills caught all three of Correa’s passes for 16 yards. The passes Mills threw went to Kenny Fisk (three receptions for 20 yards) and Correa (two receptions for 43 yards).
“I thought that Liberty’s two early scores in the first quarter were key to the outcome of the game,” LMR Co-Coach Fred Ahart said. “Those touchdowns definitely hurt us and Liberty has a fine football team.”
Ahart was pleased with the Devilcats’ effort.
“I thought our guys kept playing hard the whole game,” he said. “We were behind on the scoreboard, but these guys kept their heads up and worked hard.”