The Liberty Bell Mountain Lions’ venture up to 11-man football last Friday night (Sept. 8) resulted in a 46-41 win over the Brewster Bears in a preview of next season’s return to the 2B classification for football.
It was also the first win over the Bears in football in, well, as long as anyone seems to be able to recall.
In a rather inauspicious start that had a certain feeling of déjà vu, junior quarterback Lucien Paz rolled out toward the Brewster sideline, cut back to the right and hesitated before stepping forward toward a hole in the defense. A Bear defender hit him from behind, knocking the ball loose. It bounced into the hands of Brewster freshman defender Sam Aravalo, who returned the ball 47 yards for the opening score and a 6-0 lead for the host team Bears.
Liberty Bell Coach Jeff Lidey was somewhat tempted by past experience to fall into that “oh no, here we go again” feeling. “Yeah,” said Lidey, “but these guys are different and I still believed we were going to be OK.”
Paz was reflective on Monday, telling the News, “I probably should have thrown that ball. I hesitated and they knocked it loose. We’ll work on that.”
For his part, though, Paz had a pretty solid remainder of the game, hitting 5 of 8 passes covering 96 yards and rushing 20 times for 117 yards. Paz was also responsible for three touchdowns, finding his brother, Remington, for a touchdown reception, and rushing for two more. Remington also had a hand in three touchdowns, one receiving and two of his own on the ground. Like his older sibling, Remington also cracked the 100-yard mark, rushing for 108 yards on 10 carries.
Brewster senior quarterback Brady Wulf had a respectable night, completing 15 of his 22 passing attempts for 238 yards and three touchdowns, and leading a rather furious fourth-quarter comeback that fell just short. He was intercepted once, by Liberty Bell sophomore Alex Ramsay-George.
“It’s a good win for us,” said Lidey. “We bounced back, got the lead and then held on.”
The Mountain Lions extended their season record to 2-0, the Bears drop to 0-2, their first defeat a 56-27 loss to Chelan the previous week.
The Mountain Lions return to the 8-man game this week, traveling to Coulee City for a 5 p.m. Saturday kickoff with Almira-Coulee-Hartline. The Warriors are 2-0 after a pair of 50-point efforts versus Oroville (50-18) and Entiat (50-21). Liberty Bell shut out ACH in last year’s home opener, 50-0.
Spikers drop opener
Liberty Bell volleyball opened their 2023 campaign on the road at Lake Roosevelt with a tough-fought, competitive 3-0 loss at Lake Roosevelt on Tuesday (Sept. 5). The set scores, 25-21, 25-18, 25-22, portray a whole different scenario than the shutout score might indicate.
The strength of this team is in its youth, and two of the “youngsters” led the way for the Mountain Lions. Wynter Woras had a quality night at the service line, keeping eight of her nine attempts in the court, adding 12 kills and 10 assists to her stat line. Sophomore setter Helaina Remsberg went 11 of 12 in service and had 14 assists with one kill.
The Mountain Lions played strong on both the offensive and defensive sides of the net against a traditionally tough opponent. “We battled point-for-point but lost against a scrappy team,” said Coach Beth Blank. “There were epic rallies that made the game extremely fun to watch.”
For the first contest of the season, Blank was fairly pleased. “This [match] gave us a list of things we need to button up before seeing them again in our gym,” noted Blank.
In the early season, the search is to find those players who will assume the role of leaders on the floor. If one match can be an indicator, that early floor leader looks to be Remsberg.
“Helaina’s serving and overall court sense showed last year’s varsity experience,” the coach said. “She sees the game as well as any player I’ve coached. Her leadership kept the team going.”
“Our young setters were exceptional,” Blank continued. “Wynter was playing her first varsity match as a freshman and led the team in scoring and passing while setting a solid match.”
The junior varsity swept their three-game set at Lake Roosevelt. The scores were not available.
The Mountain Lions host the Omak Pioneers this Wednesday (Sept. 13) in the Lions’ Den, JV at 5 p.m., varsity at 6:30 p.m. Next home action will be Tuesday (Sept. 19) when last year’s state third-place team, and this year’s favorite to repeat as champions in the Central Washington 2B, comes to Liberty Bell, JV again at 5 p.m. followed by varsity at 6:30 p.m.
Cross country at Ellensburg
The term “cross country” was taken to extreme at the Ellensburg Relays Saturday (Sept. 9) at Irene Rhinehart Park near the central Washington college town as the Mountain Lions ran, jumped and literally waded through the 1.5-mile season opening ice breaker.
Varsity runners Leki Albright, Sandra Hernandez, Aksel Thomson, Dexter Delaney and Will Halpin teamed up to place sixth in the fun run style relay that featured 28 schools from all five Washington school classifications.
The course, which resembled more of an obstacle course with the basic components of a college steeplechase, had athletes running on dirt, grass, leaping over hale bales and negotiating a waist-deep pond in a five-runner relay format.
“It was a fun thing to do to get the season started,” said Coach Erik Brooks. Not much can be drawn from the event as far results and comparisons as the features of the course are not within the rules governing high school cross country courses, but, according to Brooks, the day was super fun and a good start to the season.
Liberty Bell entered three teams in the competition. Tristan Hover, Brodi Barber, Samra Newton, Ingrid Venable and George Hernandez placed 40th and Orlo Parkinson, Yasmin Moore, Liam Kiefer, Alida Burt and Hunter Wolak placed 57th. Lacking enough runners to complete a fourth Liberty Bell team, Finn Dickson (85th) and Omar Ortega (109th) ran in one of the two boys’ individual races.
This Saturday (Sept. 16) the season gets underway in earnest with the Wenatchee Invite at Walla Walla Point City Park. Action begins at 9:30 a.m. when the sixth-grade boys and girls take to the 1.55-mile middle school course. Races are scheduled throughout the late morning and early afternoon, with high school varsity girls at 1 p.m. and boys at 1:30 p.m. to close out the day.
Another day of multiple classifications, Wenatchee provides an early baseline for what is to come over the next leading up to regional and state meets at the end of October and early November. The Mountain Lions will get a chance to run against some other B schools like Cle Elum-Roslyn, Warden, Mabton and Tri-Cities Prep from District 5, while only local rival Brewster is scheduled to also at Wenatchee.
Just so you know we aren’t missing something: Mountain Lion girls’ soccer opens the season Wednesday (Sept. 13) in Omak, taking on the Pioneers, with a 4:30 p.m. kickoff.