Liberty downs Interlake, 40-12

October 22, 2008

By Jim Feehan

Showdown with No. 1 Bellevue set

Greg Ericksen rushed for three touchdowns in leading the Liberty High School Patriots to a 40-12 homecoming win against Interlake Oct. 17. 

With the victory, the Patriots remain tied with Bellevue for first place in KingCo 3A League play with 4-0 records. Liberty travels to Bellevue Oct. 24 with the league title on the line. Bellevue is ranked No. 1 in the state in a recent Seattle Times poll, while Liberty is ranked No. 8.

While dispatching the Saints, Liberty may have been thinking ahead to Bellevue, as the Patriots fumbled the ball three times and committed numerous penalties.

For the second week in a row, the Patriots scored early. Richard Crespo returned the opening kickoff to the Interlake 20. Two plays later, John Kirksey scored on a 15-yard run.

The Saints marched down the field on their first possession, keyed by a 59-yard pass from Matt Malos to Dylan Amell. But Interlake would be denied as Liberty’s defense held on downs at the Patriots’ 8-yard line.

Liberty’s next drive was stalled by three illegal procedure calls and a false start penalty.

With 2:15 remaining in the first quarter, Kirksey scored on a 6-yard run to put Liberty up 14-0.

Tailback Brett Kirschner got Interlake on the scoreboard with 8:41 remaining in the first half on a 1-yard touchdown run. A 48-yard pass from Malos to Amell set up the Saints’ score.

Ericksen scored the first of his three touchdowns with 4:08 remaining in the first half on a 2-yard run. A 16-yard pass from Trey Wheeler to Malcolm Dike keyed the Patriots’ third scoring drive as Liberty led 21-6 at halftime.

Liberty free safety Turner Chatterton intercepted a pass from Malos. Two plays later, Chandler Jenkins scored on a 5-yard run to put Liberty up 27-6. Interlake closed the gap 27-12 when Malos connected with Amell on a 65-yard touchdown strike. With the ensuing kickoff, the Saints attempted and were successful in recovering an onside kick.

But the Saints had a devil of a time mustering any offense for the remainder of the game.  Defensive end Eric Etter and middle linebacker Alec Ernst sacked Malos on critical  fourth-down attempts by Interlake. 

Ericksen scored on a 41-yard scamper up the middle for a touchdown to put the Patriots up 34-12. He scored on a 28-yard touchdown run on the first play of the fourth quarter to make it 40-12.

Liberty coach Steve Valach said he was pleased with his team’s effort, especially in the second half. 

“Consistency is the big thing for us,” he said.

The final two games, this week at Bellevue and a final regular season game at home Halloween night will decide the playoff pairings among the top three KingCo teams.

“We’re excited about the challenge,” Valach said.

Reach Reporter Jim Feehan at 392-6434, ext. 239, or jfeehan@isspress.com.

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