Liberty drops Juanita in battle of unbeatens

October 6, 2009

By Tim Pfarr

The Liberty High School Patriots took down the Juanita Rebels in a 28-21 home victory Oct. 2.“It was a war. I’m really proud of the way the kids responded. They responded like champs,” said Liberty head coach Steve Valach. “When you play an excellent football team, you know it’s going to be a battle.”

Liberty came out with guns blazing and quickly marched down the field. However, Juanita held Liberty at the 7-yard line and blocked the Patriots’ field goal attempt. A bad snap gave the Patriots the ball back at the Juanita 14, and junior Liberty running back Chandler Jenkins quickly ran for a touchdown, giving the Patriots the lead with 7:07 remaining in the first quarter.

Liberty went up by 14 more points in the second quarter with junior quarterback Trey Wheeler’s touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Jake Bainton and junior running back Jay Chakravarty’s touchdown run.

Juanita scored a touchdown before the half, but missed the extra point. Juanita scored again in the third quarter and at the beginning of the fourth quarter, using a two-point conversion to tie the game at 21 with 10:52 remaining in the game. However, Wheeler connected with Bainton for one final touchdown pass with 8:32 remaining.

The Rebels’ last attempt to tie the game began with a drive at their own 6-yard line with 2:05 remaining, but the Patriots shut down the Rebels’ offense, securing the win.

“Everybody just played their roles and we were able to come out on top,” Wheeler said. “We were fortunate to come out on top, because that’s a great team and they played hard.”

Wheeler, Jenkins and Valach each recognized Bainton for his big plays throughout the game. In addition to his two touchdown receptions, Bainton intercepted a pass and recorded 129 kickoff return yards. On one return, Bainton ran for 71 yards.

Bainton also lost his helmet during a hit.

“It’s all good,” he said about losing his helmet. “It pumped me up.”

Jenkins and Wheeler also played well. Jenkins racked up 77 rushing yards and 57 receiving yards — leading the team in both categories — and Wheeler threw for 106 yards.

Liberty faces cross-town rival Hazen at 7 p.m. Oct. 9. Although the game will be played at Liberty, it will technically be a home game for Hazen, as the game marks Hazen’s homecoming.

Tim Pfarr: 392-6434, ext. 239, or Comment at

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