Liberty’s streak ends
October 27, 2009
By Tim Pfarr
Patriots lose heartbreaker to Bellevue, 27-21
The battle of 3A KingCo Conference heavyweights Liberty and Bellevue high schools kept the crowd screaming at Liberty High School until the closing minute Oct. 23.
The Patriots trailed by six points with three minutes remaining in the game, beginning its final drive at its own 20-yard line.
Liberty worked its way downfield, crossing the 50-yard line with 1:37 remaining. However, Liberty junior quarterback Trey Wheeler threw a fatal interception as the clock struck 1:11, finalizing the score at 27-21.Bellevue, ranked No. 2 in the state poll, snapped No. 3 Liberty’s seven-game winning streak. The teams entered the contest tied for first place in the 3A/2A KingCo standings. Liberty concludes its regular season at 7 p.m. Oct. 30 at Mount Si.
The Oct. 23 game began about 15 minutes later than scheduled when a power surge temporarily left the packed stadium in the dark. When the game began, Liberty quickly proceeded down the field, scoring on an 11-yard touchdown pass from Wheeler to junior wide receiver Jake Bainton.
Bellevue responded with two touchdown runs from senior quarterback Joe Joe Connor, a fumble return for a touchdown by senior linebacker Will Fields and a 42-yard field goal kick from senior kicker Race Sciabica.
In the third quarter, Wheeler connected with junior running back Chandler Jenkins for a 40-yard touchdown pass to bring the score to 24-14. In the fourth quarter, Wheeler connected with Bainton once more for another touchdown pass, closing Bellevue’s lead to 24-21 with 8:09 remaining in the game.
But, with 3:06 remaining, Bellevue struck again with another field goal from Sciabica, bringing the score to 27-21.
Although the Patriots did not achieve the victory they hoped for, head coach Steve Valach said he was not disappointed with his team’s performance.
“I’m proud of them,” he said regarding his team. “It was a great high school football game.”
Wheeler had an exceptional game, throwing for 184 yards in addition to his three touchdowns. He gave much credit to his teammates.
“The whole team played well,” Wheeler said. “We just need to keep doing what we’re doing. We had success and the scoreboard showed it. A couple big plays they made, we didn’t.”
Liberty and Bellevue may face each other again in the playoffs in the Tacoma Dome. If there is a rematch, Bainton said his team will be ready.
“This is just going to make us hungrier,” he said. “We’re going to come out and we’re going to get the win in the T-Dome.”
Tim Pfarr: 392-6434, ext. 239, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.