Manson started fast and kept its quick-strike offense rolling for a 50-14 victory over Liberty Bell High School in the Mountain Lions’ final football game of the season last Friday (Oct. 26).
The loss on their home field left Liberty Bell with a 1-8 record for the season, 0-6 in league play. Though the score was lopsided, the Mountain Lions had some bright moments, and might have had more but for a few costly miscues.
Liberty Bell quarterback Tanner White’s first two passes were intercepted. The first was a pick-six for Manson, a 44-yard return for a touchdown with just a minute-and-half gone in the first quarter. That gave the Trojans a quick 6-0 lead, which they extended by capitalizing on another interception a few minutes later.
After registering a first down, the Mountain Lions gave up the ball on their second intercepted pass. Manson running back Marco Sanchez, who scorched the Liberty Bell defense all night, promptly galloped 37 yards for a touchdown, and a two-point conversion made it 14-0 with half the first quarter elapsed.
The Mountain Lions’ Brady Moriarty returned the favor by intercepting a deep pass attempt by Manson quarterback Avery Thomson, but Liberty Bell couldn’t mount a sustained drive.
Barely two minutes into the second quarter, Manson scored a third touchdown on a 5-yard run and added two more points on the conversion for a 22-0 lead. The Trojans were perhaps mindful of not letting Liberty Bell hang around too long, after the Mountain Lions’ last-second, 15-14 win over then-undefeated Manson in 2017.
The Mountain Lions got on the scoreboard with a little more than four minutes remaining in the half, on a pass from White to a wide-open Moriarty, who trotted into the end zone from 21 yards out. The extra point failed, and Liberty Bell trailed 22-6.
The Mountain Lions stifled a fake punt by Manson and took over at the Trojans’ 27-yard line, but went four-and-out.
After an exchange of possessions, Liberty Bell was again frustrated when stopped short of the goal, as Manson picked off a third Liberty Bell pass to end the half.
Manson opened the second half with a sustained drive that culminated in a 10-yard touchdown run and another two-point conversion, making it 30-6. The Trojans then recovered an onside kick and were back on the scoreboard within a minute, thanks to a 43-yard screen pass for a touchdown. The extra point failed, but Manson built its lead to 36-6 at the mid-way point of the third quarter.
It stayed that way until early in the fourth quarter, when Liberty Bell mounted a drive that paid off with a short touchdown run by Magnus Treise. Cole Rhoades carried for a two-point conversion that made it 36-14.
Manson wasn’t done, and neither was Sanchez. He streaked into the end zone on a 46-yard run, and a kicked extra point made it 43-14. The teams exchanged fumble recoveries, then the Trojans scored their final touchdown on a 1-yard run after a long pass completion. Another extra point kick made it 50-14. Liberty Bell’s last offensive effort ended with a lost fumble.
“Manson pretty much took control through the entire game,” Liberty Bell head coach Bob Bucsko said. “We had some highlights at times in the first half, but shot ourselves in the foot every time we would seem to be having success.” The coach said he was proud of the Mountain Lions’ effort.
Liberty Bell played its first five games on the road, including a 32-26 overtime win at Kettle Falls, and finished with four games at home. The Mountain Lions averaged 14 points a game, while their opponents averaged 44 points.
Seniors on this year’s team are Rhoades, Moriarty, Tanner White, Brayden White, Alex Garcia and Vincent Schnoor.
Manson 50, Liberty Bell 14
Manson 14 8 14 14 50
Liberty Bell 0 6 0 8 14