Win moves Lions into championship tournament
In a game that reflected the day, the Liberty Bell Mountain Lions snowed under the Inchelium Hornets, 78-0, in an avalanche of football that included offensive power, defensive turnovers and special teams play at Mountain Lion Stadium on Friday (Nov. 4).
The win advances the Mountain Lions into the 12-team 2022 state 1B championship tournament as the No. 5 seed, the second consecutive appearance for Liberty Bell in the Gridiron Classic for 8-man football in Washington.
The onslaught got underway early on in the first quarter. Inchelium won the coin toss, and that would be their only score on the day. The Hornets opted to receive the opening kickoff, and senior kicker Sawyer Crandall obliged them with a deep kick to the 5-yard line that became the starting point for their initial offensive possession.
The Mountain Lions were totally prepared for Inchelium’s offense, holding the Northeast 1B League team to three downs with a total of 5 yards gained and a punt. Freshman Remy Paz gathered in the Hornet punt on the 30-yard line and took the ball to the house for an early 6-0 lead. From there, the Mountain Lions never looked back, scoring nine touchdowns and completely shutting down the Inchelium offense.
The Liberty Bell offense rolled up 593 yards, 334 on the ground and 259 via the passing game. Quarterback Riley Lidey completed 18 of his 21 pass attempts, 6 for touchdowns, and had none intercepted. The senior spread the ball around well, finding seven different receivers. Crandall had 5 catches for 104 yards and a touchdown. Remy Paz also had 5 catches, one for a touchdown, while brother Lucien Paz and Connor Arndt also had a touchdown catch. Beau Tanguy hauled in two receptions, both for Mountain Lion touchdowns.
Lucien Paz led all rushers with 128 yards on 10 carries, and Lidey added 85 yards on the ground with Lidey, Paz and Merek Johnson each finding paydirt in the end zone.
Defensively, Liberty Bell was in total control, stifling the Hornets in every phase of the game. The Mountain Lions recorded 4 quarterback sacks, intercepted 2 passes and had numerous 4th-down stops.
With the Mountain Lions leading 54-0 by halftime, and the game now under the 40-point running clock rule, Coach Jeff Lidey took advantage to allow some of the second- and third-string players into the game for some “much needed playing time,” according to Lidey.
“We held them down defensively while our offense continued to roll late in the first half,” the coach said.
Even with those younger players infiltrating in, Liberty Bell’s offense still managed to add 24 more points on the board in the second half while the defense completed the shutout.
With the win, No. 5-ranked Liberty Bell qualified for the state tournament for the second consecutive year. The Mountain Lions are set for a Saturday afternoon (Nov. 12) matchup with No. 12 Muckleshoot Tribal from southeast King County near Auburn. Game time is 3 p.m. at the Wenatchee Apple Bowl. The Kings, so named for the salmon, have an overall record of 6-4 on the season and placed third in the Southwest Washington 1B League at 4-2.
Muckleshoot Tribal knows how to light up the scoreboard, averaging 59 points per game in their 6 wins, one of those a 96-88 early season non-league marathon against Chief Leschi. Senior quarterback Aron Ortiz leads the Kings with 1,250 yards rushing on the year, and just over 800 yards passing. Freshman Chris Vaomu has run for 628 yards on the season.
Expect the Kings to run the ball first and set up the passing game with early success. The Mountain Lions have been tough defensively this year, recording five shutouts in their eight wins and holding teams under 14 points in two of the other three wins. Muckleshoot has fallen to several teams by large margins this year, but not teams of the same caliber as Odessa and Kendrick, Idaho, Liberty Bell’s two losses on the season.
Expect the Mountain Lions to put up points against the Kings’ defense. The key to the game will be how well Liberty Bell can contain Muckleshoot Tribal’s running game and put the clamps on Ortiz, the multi-dimensional leader of the offense.
Looking down the road, No. 4 Mossyrock awaits the winner of the Liberty Bell-Muckleshoot Tribal tilt for the first of two quarterfinal games. The date, time and location of that game has not been announced. Look for that posting on Sunday, Nov. 12 on the WIAA website, wiaa.com.
The tournament will conclude the first weekend in December with the crowning of this year’s champion. Almira-Coulee-Hartline is the defending 1B champs from 2022.
Volleyball season ends in loss at Brewster
The Mountain Lion volleyball program fell to the Brewster Bears in round one of the District 6 tournament, 3-0 (25-11, 25-10, 25-12) on Tuesday (Nov. 1), ending the season for the Liberty Bell girls. The Mountain Lions finished the season with a record of 4-10.
A very young team, the Mountain Lions opened the season with only one senior on the varsity roster in Ellie Blank. Blank was lost for the season with cartilage damage to her left knee on an awkward fall, and with her went their floor leader and experience.
Picking up wins against Oroville and Bridgeport were expected this year, but the girls couldn’t quite some up with that unexpected upset, though they did take Tonasket to extra points in the fifth set during a late season thriller at Liberty Bell.
Season closes out for soccer girls
The recently surging Mountain Lion soccer girls entered the double-elimination round of post season play as the No. 4 seed from District 6, facing the No. 3 Brewster Bears on Wednesday (Nov. 2) at Quincy High School. In a tough-fought defensive battle, Brewster came out on top, 1-0, on a late goal in the second half.
The loss sent the Mountain Lions off to Spokane for a chance to move into the 12-team state tournament, facing the Northwest Christian Crusaders at the private 2B school north of Spokane in the community of Colbert. The Crusaders earned their spot into the state tournament with the 4-0 victory over Liberty Bell.
Much like the volleyball program, the girls’ soccer program is laden with young talent, and the future is bright. Freshman Marit Nelson looks to emerge as a team leader in her sophomore year and backup goalkeeper Lilly Belcher should be ready to step in for graduating senior Ruby McCarthy.
Along with McCarthy, seniors Adee Smith, Lillian Overbeck and Addie Stratman all played their final match in the program, as well as exchange students Claudia Gomez-Arroyo and Michaela Hatlova. Earlier, on Senior Night, coach Katie Overbeck spoke about how the group of seniors helped keep the program going through the COVID year and into this year, having lost 11 seniors to graduation last year. “They’ve been through the best and worst of it all, and still they are with it,” said Overbeck.