Liberty Bell High School’s No. 10 ranked Mountain Lions traveled to Bellingham for an inter-league contest with the No. 11 Lummi Nation Blackhawks on Saturday (Sept. 10), and dominated from the opening kickoff through the closing horn, bringing home a 54-0 shutout victory and evening their season record at 1-1.
The Mountain Lions opened with 24 points in the first quarter, posted 22 more in the second quarter, and added 8 points in the fourth quarter. They piled up 450 total offensive yards, 306 on the ground and 144 through the air, scoring 7 touchdowns on the highly regarded Blackhawks of the Northwest Washington 1B league.
Starting quarterback Riley Lidey finished the game with 164 yards of total offense, completing 5 of 11 passing attempts for 109 yards and rushing for 56 yards on nine carries. He threw for three touchdowns and crossed into the end zone once via the ground route.
Beau Tanguy, Sawyer Crandall and Lucien Paz each had touchdown receptions, Crandall taking his one catch 48 yards to the house. Paz hit the end zone after a 50-yard pass and run play. Freshman Remi Paz led the Mountain Lion rushing attack with 101 yards on six carries.
Coach Jeff Lidey credited the offensive line for the rushing onslaught. “The offensive line was amazing. We have so many weapons offensively, it’s really hard to stand out,” the coach said. “Defensively we held them to under 80 yards rushing and 50 yards passing.”
Freshman Alex Ramsey-George led the Mountain Lion defense with 8 solo tackles and 2 assists. Riley Lidey added 5 solo tackles, providing assists on 3 more stops and intercepting a first-quarter Blackhawk pass, setting up a score and tone for the rest of the game.
Merek Johnson forced 2 Blackhawk fumbles, both resulting in Mountain Lion recoveries, Tanguy gathering up one and Lucien Paz falling on the second fumble. Damien Spears was credited with the only quarterback sack of the afternoon.
“Merek was an absolute hammer on defense,” said the coach. “He really took the wind out of their offense.”
Reigning state 1B champions Almira-Coulee-Hartline will be at Liberty Bell Friday night (Sept. 16) as the Mountain Lions open the 2022 home football season. Liberty Bell is 0-2 against the Warriors in 8-man football.
“ACH is rebuilding as well, but with a top-notch coach we will definitely not be looking past this young Warrior team,” coach Lidey said. The Warriors are 2-0 on the young season. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. There is no admission fee at any Liberty Bell sporting events.
Striding at Sehome
Liberty Bell’s cross country runners opened the 2022 season in the Gear Up Season Opener Meet at Sehome High School in Bellingham. The Gear Up is a class-oriented meet, dividing the varsity field into academic classes and holding a pair of junior varsity races for the boys. All heats run a 2 mile course.
It was a limited set of Mountain Lions, as a couple of runners were tied up at the Okanogan County Fair, junior Will Halpin was nursing some soreness as a precaution prior to the longer and bigger races, and others were missing for various reasons.
Sophomore Dexter Delaney provided the highlight of the day, taking 1st place in the boys’ sophomore race. Delaney toured the 2 miles in 10:26.17, beating Sehome’s Skyler Gillham by 5 seconds. Tristan Hover placed 103rd with a time of 13:53.
Juniors Hunter Wolak and Birch Marcus participated in the second heat of the boys’ junior varsity race, Wolak placing in the top third of the field at 35th. Marcus was about halfway back at 69th place. In the boys’ senior class, the Schmekel twins, Jackson and Tristan, placed 54th and 56th, respectively.
Only two Liberty Bell girls ran on Saturday. Leki Albright placed 6th in the 88-runner junior girls race. Sandra Hernandez, also a junior, placed a respectable 33rd, touring the course in 14:56.34.
The Mountain Lions run next this coming Saturday (Sept. 17) at Wenatchee’s Walla Walla Point Park. Junior high races begin at 10 a.m., high school JV and varsity races start at noon. Wenatchee usually features most of the smaller central Washington Schools, as well as larger schools from all over the state, and provides an early season look at how things might shake out as the year progresses.
Soccer smoked out
Liberty Bell’s scheduled season opening home girls’ soccer match with Chelan was postponed last Thursday (Sept. 8) due to poor air quality resultant from heavy wildfire smoke in the area. No reschedule date has been announced. The Lady Mountain Lions were scheduled to visit Omak on Tuesday (Sept. 13). Upcoming is a match scheduled for Saturday (Sept. 17) at Mountain Lion Stadium. The Cascade Kodiaks are the opponent. Kickoff is slated for 11 a.m.
Volleyball battles Lake Roosevelt
Liberty Bell’s volleyball Lions dropped their season-opening match in the Lions’ Den on Sept. 6, the Lake Roosevelt Raiders besting the home team by a score of 3-0. The sweep did not come easily, as the young Mountain Lions pushed the more experienced visitors from Coulee Dam in each of the three sets, 22-25, 23-25, and 23-25.
Liberty Bell held late leads or ties in each match, only to falter. Lake Roosevelt’s Zalissa Sanfo-Finley was a force in the middle, but Liberty Bell senior Ellie Blank, with help on the block from Baylie Thomson, managed several block-kill returns or kept the ball alive for second-chance opportunities.
Pearl McArthur and Helaina Remsberg provided some solid back row defense and Remsberg showed herself to be a skilled setter, getting the ball to the front row hitters for kill opportunities. But the Raiders were taller across the net and took advantage of their height down the stretch of each set to hold off the home team.
Coach Beth Blank was all smiles after the match. “They played great tonight. We’re looking for improvement and they have come a long way just in the first couple of weeks. They fought hard and never quit,” she said.
There was a little disappointment in the third set, though. Liberty Bell jumped out to a 10-5 lead on a string of quality serves by McArthur. Mountain Lion sophomore Katelyn Evans, on the strength of several service aces, built the Lion lead to 18-11. Then it was Lake Roosevelt’s turn to put up a string of points, first cutting the lead to 18-15, then tying the set at 18. The Mountain Lions fell behind 19-21, tried several times to make a run, but were repelled by the taller Lake Roosevelt front line, eventually losing by the 23-25 score.
“It’s already starting to come together,” said Blank post-match. “The girls are having fun, and learning how to be a team. They’re gonna be good.”
The girls played at Omak on Monday night (Sept. 12), then were on to Brewster for a league match on Tuesday (Sept.13). Next home match is Thursday (Sept. 15). Junior varsity tips at 5 p.m., varsity at 6:30 p.m.