Win highlights busy week for LBHS teams
By Rick Lewis
The Liberty Bell High School football team has contended with a delayed season, reduced participation, unusable practice and playing facilities and COVID restrictions and limitations.
Still, after having fallen to perennial Washington B8 power Almira-Coulee-Hartline in their first COVID-era contest, the Mountain Lions displayed their resilience, bouncing back to rout the Soap Lake Eagles 66-20 last Thursday (March 11). As is the norm this year, snow-covered facilities forced Liberty Bell to travel to Soap Lake for the game.
B8 football has been described as a “track meet on turf” and this game was no different.
The Mountain Lions charged out to a 24-6 halftime margin built on the legs and arm of sophomore quarterback Riley Lidey. After halftime, Liberty Bell asserted itself offensively, then let the defense close it out to seal the victory.
In a preview of the scoring onslaught to come, Liberty Bell took the second-half kickoff and, after a long touchdown pass by Lidey was called back on an illegal block penalty, marched the ball down the field. Lidey scored on a 20-yard yard scamper to make the score 30-6. Soap Lake responded with a touchdown drive of their own. The teams again traded touchdowns, running the score to 36-20.
After the second Soap Lake touchdown, an on-side kickoff by the Eagles backfired when Liberty Bell receiver Dusty Patterson stepped forward, grabbed the football off of a tailor-made, chest-high bounce, and scampered about 50 yards for the touchdown, putting the Mountain Lions up 42-20. They added one more score to extend their lead to 50-20 at the end of the third quarter, then shut out the Eagles in the fourth while adding 16 more points to the board.
Head coach Jeff Lidey was pleased with his team’s effort. “Seven different players scored points,” Lidey said. “That’s almost half the team. When you can involve every kid in a win, there is truly nothing better as a coach.”
Bodie Paul scored three of those touchdowns, ran the ball for 80 yards on 8 carries, added 140 yards on 8 pass receptions and had 9 solo tackles to earn the coach’s Co-Player of the Game designation. Sharing the honors was Patterson, who added 48 yards on the ground, a touchdown reception, and had 5 tackles and 3 pass deflections on defense.
Quarterback Lidey completed 17 of his 20 pass attempts for 306 yards and 6 touchdowns. He also reached the end zone three times on the ground, running the ball 6 times for 97 yards. Lucaas Gonzales-Ortega added a touchdown of his own with a 60-yard intercepted pass return to close the scoring late in the game.
“We fixed mistakes we made in the first game,” the coach said. “I was able to see what we have in our arsenal, and we are stacked.”
Next up for the Mountain Lions is another road game at Entiat, kickoff at 1 p.m. on Saturday (March 20). The game will be live streamed at www.nfhsnetwork.com/schools/entiat-high-school-entiat-wa.
Cross country at East Wenatchee
Liberty Bell freshman Leki Albright won her third straight high school cross country race Saturday at East Wenatchee in the North Central Washington Meet No. 3. Albright ran with Eastmont’s Hannah Mikkelson for the first 2 miles, overtaking her at the two-thirds mark and pacing herself to a 20-second win over the sophomore Wildcat. Another Mountain Lion freshman, Aksel Thomson, placed eighth among a field of 32 runners in the boys’ varsity race.
The race time temperature was about 60 degrees under sunny blue skies with a light breeze. “It was a little warm,” Albright said of the conditions. But she felt good about her pacing and running her own race.
“I like having someone to run with, but I was focused on maintaining my pace and running the hills more than anything else,” she said.
Thomson continued to lead the youthful boys’ team. He found a group of four other runners and went to the lead of that pack about halfway through the race. He led them across the finish line, finishers 8 through 12.
On Saturday, the Mountain Lion runners travel to Wenatchee’s Walla Walla Point Park for a meet hosted by Wenatchee High School. Boys’ varsity and JV runners race at 11 a.m. The girls’ combined race is scheduled for 11:45 a.m. While the event is currently “closed” for spectators, the park is open for public access.
March 24 is slated for the 1B/2B Central Washington B Championship at Manson’s Wapato Point Park.
Soccer team drops two
The Mountain Lion soccer girls lost a pair of matches this past week. Liberty Bell was outscored 7-0 at Tonasket on Tuesday (March 9), and was edged in tough battle at Bridgeport on Saturday, 2-1. Cymone Van Marter found the back of the net after a seven-pass series up the field, the final assist belonging to Amelia Bondi as she hit Van Marter in front of the Fillies’ goal and the senior forward put it by the Bridgeport goalkeeper for her second tally of the season.
Both teams were short of the normal 11 players, going instead with nine-on-nine until attrition took its toll. Liberty Bell closed out the match with only seven players and their goalkeeper.
Injuries and COVID protocols have impacted the Liberty Bell roster. Several girls had traveled and were sitting out the mandatory quarantine periods. After quarantine, they must then put in five practice days before regaining eligibility to play.
There was some good news as Wyatt Albright returned from the injured list to play at Bridgeport. “We put her in on the defense to get her out on the field,” said first-year coach Katie Overbeck. Albright typically plays more as a forward or center in the offense. The move to the defense to reduce the potential for re-injury.
The Mountain Lions had been scheduled to play at Chelan on Tuesday (March 16). That match was canceled and declared no contest because of the current roster woes. Next up is a trip to Royal City to face the Class 1A Knights on Saturday, kickoff at 1 p.m.
Volleyball splits at Manson
The Liberty Bell volleyball team split its double-header meet at Manson on Saturday. The Mowwuntain Lions defeated the Wahluke Warriors in straight sets, 3-0, only to have the host Trojans turn the tables and shut out Liberty Bell by the same 3-0 score.
Jadyn Mitchell led the Mountain Lions with 8 service aces, 11 blocks (9 for kills) and 18 kill shots. Shae Taylor contributed 5 aces and 7 kills, Ellie Blank had a solid day at the net with 12 kills, Caitlyn Cooley added 4 blocks and 4 kills and Madi Surface had 3 blocks and 4 aces on the day.
Liberty Bell is now at 4-2 on the season as the team heads for Tonasket on Saturday for a showdown with the Tigers and the Okanogan Bulldogs. The matches will be live streamed by Tonasket High School at https://tonasketathletics.com/eye-of-the-tiger. The event gets underway at 10 a.m.