LBHS gridders finish 8-man play with 9-2 record
The Odessa Tigers jumped out to a 48-14 halftime lead and didn’t look back, defeating the Liberty Bell High School Mountain Lions, 62-22, in the second round of the state 8-Man playoffs on Saturday (Nov. 20) in Moses Lake.
The Tigers ran their season record to 10-1 and the Mountain Lions finished their season at 9-2, the other loss coming in September to another state playoff team, Pomeroy.
The two-time defending state champions overpowered Liberty Bell with a strong and efficient running game, using their size, excellent technique and tradition of playoff experience to dominate the line of scrimmage and, consequently, the scoreboard.
“We knew going in to the game we had to meet them upfront at the line of scrimmage … we could not do that,” said Liberty Bell coach Jeff Lidey. “They ran the ball most of the night with ease on our five-man front.”
Odessa scored the first three times they had the ball, running the score out to 22-0 before the Mountain Lions got on the board. Liberty Bell broke through with a late first quarter 53-yard touchdown pass-and-run combination from junior quarterback Riley Lidey to freshman receiver Quincy Scott. Lidey hit junior receiver Sawyer Crandall on a 30-yard pass for the Lions’ second-quarter touchdown, and Lidey completed Liberty Bell’s scoring line with a 37-yard run to the “house” in the final period.
“Overall, I am very proud of these guys. They never gave up,” coach Lidey said. “We were calling time-outs with seconds left trying to make anything happen. I do know this — Odessa left this game with some bumps and bruises.”
Riley Lidey led the offensive effort, passing for 206 yards on 11 completions in 27 attempts, throwing one interception. He was also the leading rusher, collecting 53 yards on 8 carries.
Odessa held the high-powered Mountain Lions’ rushing attack, averaging 260 yards per game, to fewer than 100 yards. It was only the second time in 11 games that the Lions’ attack was held under the 100-yard mark.
Lidey was also the leading tackler, recording 12 stops, intercepting a pass and forcing one Tiger fumble. Noah Holston was credited with 9 tackles, and Grey Patterson and Merrick Johnson each tallied 7 tackles. Johnson also recovered a Tiger fumble.
The Tigers advance to face the Quilcene Rangers this coming Saturday, while Almira-Coulee-Hartline advances to take on the Naselle Comets in the other semi-final. The state championship game is slated for Dec. 4 at Tacoma’s Mount Tahoma High School.
Coach Lidey was especially appreciative of the parents and community who rose up for the Mountain Lions this year.
“I would like to especially thank all the parents, families and friends for all the support this year. Winthrop Kiwanis, a special thanks to them for providing meals for all the athletes and coaches after the game, it was a big joy for everyone,” he said.
“Wait ’til next year” was the ages-old war cry of Chicago Cubs fans around the world for years. While seniors Grey Patterson, Zane Strome and Noah Holston played their last game for Liberty Bell on Saturday, there is hope for the future.
“This is a moment that all these boys will definitely want back,” the coach said, referring to a team with only three seniors and a bushel full of young talent coming up. “I think the taste of playoffs will remain in all the underclassmen’s mouths for a while to come. We should be pretty competitive next year for sure.”
Fall sports awards
All League and District fall sports awards have been released by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association’s (WIAA) District 6 office, and Liberty Bell Mountain Lions are prominent in all sports.
In 8-Man football, Noah Holston garnered Defensive Player of the Year honors and headed up a list of six Mountain Lions on the 8-Man first team, including Grey Patterson, Quincy Scott, Beau Tanguy, Riley Lidey and Sawyer Crandall. On the Offensive First Team, Lidey, Crandall and Holston were joined by freshman Lucien Paz. Offensively, Damon Alumbaugh, Scott and Connor Arndt received Honorable Mention while Merrick Johnson and Nicholas White made the same on defense. Mountain Lion head coach Jeff Lidey was named Coach of the Year in the CWB League.
In volleyball, senior Jadyn Mitchell was named to the CWB All-League Second Team and classmate Shae Taylor was named as Honorable Mention.
The Mountain Lions girls’ soccer team, after being named WIAA state academic champs a few weeks back, earned the Sportsmanship Award for the 2021 CWB season, as well as landing senior defender Chloe Sprauer on the first team. Senior midfielder Sophia Newton was named to the second team, and seniors Jess Dinham, McKenna Kurtz and Elke Wathen were joined by junior Adee Smith on the Honorable Mention team.
In cross country, sophomores Will Halpin and Leki Albright both earned Athlete of the Year honors. Albright, seniors Jori Grialou, Payten Kaufman and Ayeanna Ruprecht, and sophomore Dashe McCabe, were all placed on the girls’ First Team. On the boys’ side, Halpin, sophomores Carter and Graham Sheley, and Isaiah Stoothoff, along with freshman Aksel Thomson, were named First Team. Jackson and Tristan Schmekel were named to the District 6 All-League second team. Coach Erik Brooks was named Coach of the Year for both boys’ and girls’ XC.
Mountain Lions atop Scholastic Cup standings
In the 2021-22 WIAA Scholastic Cup, current standings (as of Nov. 21 ) in the 2B classification have Liberty Bell in first place with 505 points.
Asotin currently sits in second with 425 points, St. George’s third (415), and Walla Walla Academy and Colfax are tied at fourth with 245 points.
The Scholastic Cup, a points system that combines success on the field/court with academics and sportsmanship, is an annual competition compiled by the WIAA. The 2021-22 winners will be named at the end of the academic year in June.