Liberty Bell High School’s Mountain Lions continued their roll of outstanding performances with a 50-0 defeat of 2021 state 1B Champion Almira-Coulee-Hartline (ACH) at Friday night’s football game (Sept. 16).
It was the home opener for Liberty Bell after two road games at Odessa and Lummi Nation, and brings their season record to 2-1.
Mountain Lion head football coach Jeff Lidey credited the win to an entire team effort. “ACH just didn’t have an answer for our ground game, passing game or our defense,” Lidey said.
After many of ACH’s senior players graduated last year and, despite their title run in 2021, the Warriors were no match for the now more-experienced Mountain Lions. “This was not the same ACH team of last year,” said Lidey. Still, “they are well-coached and tried their hardest.”
Senior quarterback Riley Lidey was on target all night, hitting on 11 of 14 passing attempts for 134 yards and 3 touchdowns. He was not intercepted. Sophomore signal caller Lucien Paz also hit for a touchdown on his only throw to senior receiver Sawyer Crandall. Crandall led the way with 4 receptions, 2 for touchdowns. Remy Paz and Beau Tanguy each hauled in touchdown receptions.
The Mountain Lion ground game accounted for 3 touchdowns and amassed 230 rushing yards. Lucien Paz led the attack with 94 rushing yards and was at the top in total yards with 199, combining his passing, receiving and rushing.
It was the second straight game where the Liberty Bell boys went over the 400-yard mark in total yards. Coach Lidey was quick to credit the offensive line for opening holes and precision work in the trenches.
Noting that the center position can sometimes set the tone of a game, Lidey highlighted that spot as having made a difference in this game. “They were having some problems, but Damon Alumbaugh was, again, perfect with his snaps,” he said.
The elder Paz also led the stat chart on the defensive side of the ball, making 9 solo tackles and recovering a fumble. The Mountain Lions completely stymied the visitors, holding them to only 79 total yards of offense, 57 on the ground and 22 through the air.
Liberty Bell stays home this coming weekend with a Friday-night date against the Concrete Lions of the NW 1B League. A series that has had its share of oddities in the past because of smoke cancelations and snowy roads starts up again and is becoming a neighborly interleague rivalry. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. at Mountain Lion stadium.
Cross country at Wenatchee Invite
A wounded and somewhat depleted Mountain Lion cross country team took to Walla Walla Point Park in Wenatchee for the annual Wenatchee Invitational Cross Country Meet on Saturday (Sept. 17). Several of Liberty Bell’s top varsity runners sat this one out because of illness and minor injuries, so Coach Erik Brooks adjusted the lineups for the meet, which features a number of 4A and 3A schools, plus many of the smaller schools from around North Central Washington.
Leki Albright, Kyler Mitchell, Will Halpin, Dexter Delaney and John Hernandez were all sidelined for various reasons, none of which appear to be serious enough to keep them out of next week’s Nike Twilight race in Marysville on Oct. 1. Brooks expects them all to be back at practice this week.
This was also the first race of the new season for the Mountain Lion Middle School cross country program, but Brooks and junior high coach Liam Daily did platoon two girls up to the high school team, just to see how they might react. Ingrid Venable and Juniper Dickson joined Josie Bolinger, Sandra Hernandez and Zoe Kaltenbach to form a scoring team in the girls’ junior varsity race where, as the smallest school, they scored a third-place team result out of the eight full competing teams.
Hernandez led the way in 3rd place individually, Kaltenbach placed 12th, Venable was 20th, Dickson was 26th,and Bolinger placed 45th.
Junior Aksel Thomson led almost wire-to-wire in winning the boys’ junior varsity race for juniors and seniors. His time of 18:07 was 16 seconds ahead of 2nd-place Colin Smith from Hanford, and would have put him in the top third of the varsity open race.
Jackson Schmekel, Jayden Hammer, Tristan Hover, George Chavez-Hernandez, Hunter Wolak, Birch Marcus and Omar Ortega joined Thomson in scoring well enough for the Mountain Lions to place 3rd in the boys’ junior varsity race, behind 4A’s Hanford and Wenatchee.
Brooks was thrilled by how his charges raced in both of those junior varsity events. “Sandra and Zoe also both took their 5K racing to a whole other level. Hunter Wolak was literally 9-plus minutes faster than in his race here last year, and Aksel is back!” exclaimed the coach, noting that Thomson looked “exceptionally relaxed and confident with his first-place finish.”
In the middle school ranks, River Ferguson highlighted the Liberty Bell junior high effort, taking the top spot in the boys’ sixth-grade race on the 1.55-mile course, about half the distance of the high school contests.
Other top-10 placings included Kai Boroski at 9th in the boys’ sixth grade; and Cicely Newman (3rd), Zephyr Woras (4th) and Zoe Plemel (9th) in girls’ sixth grade. Anja Merkens, Maren Sands, Ava Burrington, Nina Halpin and Madison Williams were all top-10 in the girls’ seventh grade. Ferguson and Landon Schmekel led the seventh-grade boys to a team victory.
The junior high runners head to Kettle Falls on Saturday (Sept. 24) for the Can-Am Invitational, while the high school takes this week off before the upcoming and afore-mentioned Nike Twilight.
Spikers win at Oroville
The Liberty Bell girls’ soccer team picked up their first win of the 2022 season in the Lions’ Den last Thursday (Sept. 15), sweeping a three-set decision with the Hornets by scores of 25-22, 25-12 and 25-11.
They had to “shake off some nerves playing at home in front of full bleachers” in the first set of the match, falling behind early 11-20, according to head coach Beth Blank. Then they went on a run, outscoring Oroville 14-2, and then cruising through sets two and three for the match victory.
Earlier last week the Mountain Lions dropped a nonleague match at Omak on Monday and Tuesday (Sept. 12 and 13), falling to Brewster in a Central Washington 2B League match.
“We are playing with some injuries and girls that have been out sick this past week,” said Blank. “Our goal is to adjust to the changes, dig deep, play hard and have fun doing it.”
Tuesday (Sept. 20), after press time, the Mountain Lions (1-3) traveled to Manson to take on last year’s No. 3 state finalist Trojans. They have a series of matches on the road, returning home on Saturday, Oct. 1, to entertain the Bridgeport Fillies. First serve will be at 12:30 p.m.