Junior quarterback prospect Chip Jones hands the ball off to running back Cesar Dominguez, with sophomore Jacob McMillan in the foreground, during a recent team practice. Low turnout numbers forced cancellation of the Mountain Lions’ first two season games against Darrington and Concrete. Photo by Mike Maltais

Junior quarterback prospect Chip Jones hands the ball off to running back Cesar Dominguez, with sophomore Jacob McMillan in the foreground, during a recent team practice. Low turnout numbers forced cancellation of the Mountain Lions’ first two season games against Darrington and Concrete. Photo by Mike Maltais

By Mike Maltais

Aside from an intra-squad scrimmage scheduled for Monday (Sept. 16) at 5 p.m., the Liberty Bell High School varsity football team will not face a season opponent until Friday, Sept. 27, when the Mountain Lions open league play against the Trojans at Manson.

An initial low turnout of players, with too many inexperienced or ineligible athletes, compelled LBHS activities director Mike Wilson to cancel the non-league season opener against Darrington scheduled for Sept. 6.

Earlier this week, Wilson announced that this Friday’s second non-league game against Concrete has also been cancelled.

“We have 13 healthy, eligible players for week two, three of which are inexperienced and need to evolve as football players before they attempt to play a whole varsity football game without substitution,” Wilson said. The AD said his decision “came down to my duty to ensure the safety of our student athletes.”

“The great news is that we have had a good number of new turn-outs now that school has started and the squad has swelled to 20-plus young men,” Wilson said. “These new participants must meet practice requirements before they can play, and hence are not eligible until week number three.”

With the infusion of recruits, Wilson predicts that the Mountain Lions “should be strong with numbers as well as strong with heart come Sept. 27 when they open their league play against Manson.”

Last season the Mountain Lions defeated the Trojans 41-15 in the first of their two league victories. The second was a 12-6 win over Lake Roosevelt.

Liberty Bell will celebrate Homecoming on Oct. 4 with the team’s first league home game against Bridgeport at 7 p.m.