By Mike Maltais
Taken in terms of pure points, Oroville may have won the game, 30-27, but taken in terms of pure heart, Liberty Bell won the glory on the Hornets’ home football field last Friday (Oct. 11).
In a gutsy display of tenacity and teamwork, the Mountain Lions varsity football team roared back from a 20-point second quarter deficit and battled the host Hornets to a tie-breaking field goal with just seconds left on the fourth quarter clock.
“The Oroville game was a tough one,” admitted coach Sy Bannick. “We came out flat and let them get two quick and easy touchdowns.”
Those were a pair of untouched 58- and 48-yard runs by Hornets quarterback Tony Kindred in the first three minutes of the game. Kindred then threw a 39-yard pass early in the second quarter to put Oroville up, 20-0.
At that point Oroville fans figured the Hornet Express had long left the station.
Then a TD pass from quarterback Chip Jones to receiver Milo Holston two minutes before halftime fired the Liberty Bell boilers and got the Mountain Lions on track to Oroville’s end zone.
With star running back Austin Watson sidelined with a sore lower back, Liberty Bell had to revisit its game plan. The coaches opted for Air Jones and the junior QB began picking apart the Hornet pass defense.
Early in the third quarter, Jones again connected with Holston on a long bomb for Liberty Bell’s second TD. Jorge Lara kicked the second of two extra points to close the gap to 20-14.
Following an Oroville punt, Jones found Lara open for the Mountain Lions’ third TD and a 20-20 tie.
Oroville scored early in the fourth quarter to take a 27-20 lead,
Midway through the quarter, Jones answered with a 7-yard QB keeper to knot the game 27-all following Lara’s third extra point.
Liberty Bell was again threatening late in the fourth when Oroville took possession of a pass play fumble and marched within striking distance of the uprights to kick a 40-plus yard field goal with under 10 seconds left to play to take the 30-27 lead.
Jones threw his Hail Mary pass in a final effort to score but was picked off.
“Our QB had a huge night,” Bannick said.
Jones threw a total of 35 passes and completed 24 for 364 yards and three TDs. Jones was intercepted twice, once when a pass bounced off the hands of a Liberty Bell receiver and then the last-second pass at the end of the game.
“I never doubted that we would make a comeback,” Jones said of his team’s performance.
“Milo Holston had a fantastic game receiving with 10 catches for 207 yards,” Bannick noted.
“We have been practicing together all summer,” Holston said of Jones. “Oroville was definitely part of the payoff.”
Following a week off, the Mountain Lions will travel to Lake Roosevelt for a game against the Raiders on Oct. 25.
Chip Jones – 7 carries for 4 yds, 1 TD; 24/35 passing for 364 yds, 3 TDs, 2 interceptions
Milo Holston – 2 carries for 11 yds, 10 pass receptions for 207 yards, 2 TDs
Jorge Lara – 4 carries for 15 yards, 4 receptions for 34 yards, 1 TD
Austin Watson – 5 carries for 16 yards, 1 reception for 8 yards
Emmett Fink – 1 carry for 1 yd
Chase Kurtz – 6 receptions for 64 yards
Jacob McMillan – 1 reception for 2 yards
Jaymis Hansen – 2 receptions for 53 yards
409 total offensive yards
Cesar Dominguez – 24 tackles, 1 caused fumble, 1 fumble recovery
Jacob McMillan – 20 tackles
Milo Holston – 14 tackles
Emmett Fink – 11 tackles
Tyson Coleman – 9 tackles
Jaymis Hansen – 8 tackles
Colby Smith – 8 tackles
Chip Jones – 5 tackles
Garret Jensen – 5 tackles
Jose Dominguez – 5 tackles
Jorge Lara – 3 tackles
Chase Kurtz – 2 tackles
Riley Dickinson – 2 tackles
Zane Herrera –1 tackle
Sacks not recorded to players – 3
Special teams stats
Lara – 5 kickoffs for 270 yards, 3 punts for 129 yards, 2 kick returns for 63 yards, 3/4 points after touchdown (1 blocked)
Fink – 2 kick returns for 50 yards