Liberty football battle-tested, ready for playoffs

November 4, 2010

By Mason Kelley

NEW — 10:15 a.m. Nov. 4, 2010

When Liberty High School football coach Steve Valach gathered his players to talk about the playoffs, he decided to make a reference to the NBA.

He talked about how teams will sometimes sign a player to a 10-day contract. If that player performs at a high level, there is a chance he will get another contract.

He told them to forget about the past and look ahead to the games to come.

“Monday, you signed a five-day contract and, Friday night, if things go well, you get an opportunity to reup it,” Valach told his team. “Let’s make the most of each day, and then hope we have a chance to sign that contract to play for another week.”

Liberty (6-3) has been through ups and downs this year. The Patriots opened the year with a 39-34 win over Skyline, only to fall to Issaquah the following week, 27-21 in two overtimes. Last week, the Patriots wrapped up the regular season with a 23-20 loss to Bellevue.

But, last year, Liberty provided a memorable run through the postseason and Valach said his players are confident they are capable of another long trip through the playoffs.

“We feel good,” Valach said. “It’s kind of been an up-and-down season. I would say we’ve played inconsistently and, that being said, we lost to Issaquah in double overtime without a lot of our guys and barely lost to Bellevue.

“We’re kind of battle-tested. We’re getting healthy, so those are good things going into the playoffs.”

The Patriots open the postseason against Kennedy Catholic at 7 p.m. Friday at Highline Stadium.

Liberty wide receiver and defensive back Jake Bainton will be a game-time decision Friday against Kennedy Catholic. The senior has been dealing with a shoulder injury since a Week 1 win against Skyline.

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