On their home field against a 3A opponent, the Liberty Bell High School Mountain Lions scrapped to the finish before falling to the West Seattle Wildcats, 40-18, on a brilliant fall afternoon for football.
The Saturday game was unusual, as was the match-up of 2B Liberty Bell with the larger school. “It was a great game against a 3A school,” said Liberty Bell coach Bob Bucsko.
“The boys played their hearts out today. I am so proud of this team.”
The Mountain Lions moved the ball well late in the game, scoring two fourth-quarter touchdowns, and netted 186 yards on the ground.
“We made a few mistakes that gave them good position on the field and two scores they shouldn’t have had,” Bucsko said.
West Seattle started quickly with two scores in the first quarter, a short touchdown pass about halfway through quarter and a short run with a little more than two minutes left.
Another short run and extra point in the second quarter put the Wildcats up 21-0 with five minutes left. Liberty Bell used most of that time to get on the scoreboard via a short run by Alex Whites with 12 seconds left.
Barely two minutes into the third quarter, West Seattle scored on a long dash for a 28-6 margin. On the kickoff, the Wildcats recovered a Liberty Bell fumble on the 5-yard line and quickly added a touchdown.
Bodie Paul scored the Mountain Lions’ second touchdown about three minutes into the final quarter on a short run. West Seattle quickly answered with another long dash for a score and a 40-12 lead.
Liberty Bell kept chipping away, registering a third touchdown with a little more than a minute to go on a short run by Brady Moriarty. The Mountain Lions failed to convert any of their extra point attempts — two kicks and an incomplete pass.
Paul led the Liberty Bell ground attack with 100 yards on 16 carries. Moriarty accounted for 88 yards on 13 carries, and Whites added 23 yards on seven carries.
Quarterback Tanner White was 4-for-7 passing for 77 yards and one interception. Tyler Darwood had three receptions for 41 yards, and Cole Rhoades grabbed one pass for a 36-yard gallop. Liberty Bell had 16 first downs.
On defense, Rhoades intercepted a West Seattle pass.
For West Seattle, running back Tom Nguyen rushed for 121 yards on 41 carries and scored five touchdowns. Colin Roman had eight catches for 85 yards and one touchdown.
“It was a good, fun game and their coaches and players were a class act,” Bucsko said.
Also memorable, the coach said: “We had six Bucskos on the field at one time — the coach, his two sons and three grandsons.”
The loss leaves Liberty Bell with a 1-6 record for the season, with two games to go. The annual Homecoming game on Friday (Oct. 19) will see Tonasket visiting Mountain Lion Stadium, with kickoff at 7 p.m. Liberty Bell ends the season with a home game against Manson on Oct. 26, also kicking off at 7 p.m.
West Seattle 40, Liberty Bell 18
West Seattle 14 7 13 6 40
Liberty Bell 0 6 0 12 18