By Mike Maltais
The varsity season is getting off to a rocky start for the Liberty Bell High School football team. The Mountain Lions’ non-league season opener against Darrington on Friday (Sept. 6) has been cancelled and as of this writing the following week’s game against Concrete (on Sept. 13) is questionable.
LBHS Activities Director Mike Wilson made the announcement earlier this week, citing a number of factors including low turnout numbers “in conjunction with eligibility issues, injuries, and young/inexperienced players that are not ready for HS varsity football.”
“The guys that are out are very committed, and have been working hard,” Wilson said. “What we really need is more of them.”
The varsity players held their first practice Aug. 21, which saw the return of four All-League veterans from last year in uniform. They included seniors Austin Watson, Chase Kurtz, Cesar Dominguez and junior Emmett Fink. Watson was selected to both the offensive and defensive first teams and Dominguez to first team defense. Kurtz was a second team offensive receiver pick and Fink a second team defender.
Coach Sy Bannick also pointed to low turnout numbers as the core problem. “We have some kids becoming eligible later in the season,” Bannick said “We need 14 eligible to start the game. We have 12 as of now for a sport that needs 11 on the field. So we are going to take it week-to-week for games.”
Last season the Mountain Lions lost their first three non-league games to Darrington, 13-7, Concrete, 22-0, Mary Walker, 18-12. They beat Manson, 41-15, in the league opener, lost a heartbreaker to Oroville, 28-27, and rebounded to defeat Lake Roosevelt, 12-6. In a three-way tiebreaker for a playoff spot, Liberty Bell came up short against Kittitas, 46-3, and was eliminated from post-season play by White Swan, 33-27.
“We are committed to trying to maintain the football season,” Wilson said, putting particular emphasis on competing in upcoming league games. “The Concrete game is tentative as of now. We will see what transpires.”
LBHS football schedule
Fri Sep 6 Darrington-cancelled
Fri Sep 13 Concrete 7pm (TBA)
*Fri Sep 27 @ Manson 7pm
*Fri Oct 4 Bridgeport 7pm
*Fri Oct 11 @ Oroville 7p m
*Fri Oct 25 @ Lake Roosevelt 7pm
*Fri Nov 1 Kittitas 7pm
*Fri Nov 8 @ White Swan 7pm
Coach: Sy Bannick
Varsity assistant coaches:
Brent Walker, Brian Wilbur