Liberty Patriots fall to Mount Si Wildcats in overtime thriller

September 24, 2011

By Sebastian Moraga

NEW — 12:25 a.m. Sept. 24, 2011

In a tale of two halves, the Liberty Patriots could not sustain their first-half momentum and lost in overtime to the Mount Si Wildcats in Snoqualmie.

The Patriots played like a defensive juggernaut in the first half Friday night, forcing three turnovers including one at their own 1-yard line.

In the second half, the combination of Wildcat running back Connor Deutsch’s legs, the crowd’s throats and the Wildcats’ hustle let the hosts climb back from a 13-0 deficit to tie at 13 with half a minute left in the game.

Then, in overtime, Wildcat kicker Cameron Vanwinkle nailed a 35-yard field goal, and his Patriot counterpart Josh Johnson missed a 35-yard attempt, giving Mount Si the victory, 16-13.

Liberty began strong, forcing a turnover on Mount Si’s second play from scrimmage. Then, with two minutes left in the first quarter, Liberty blocked a Mount Si punt at the Wildcats’ 17-yard-line.

Mount Si’s Joseph Cotto recovered the ball but was stopped at the 1.

With 1:30 left in the first quarter, Liberty’s Hamilton Noel jogged three feet on first-and-1 for the score.

Then early in the second quarter, quarterback Jordan West dialed his own number at the Liberty 49 and carried it to the Mount Si 5. On third-and-goal at the Mount Si 1-yard line, the signal-caller hit redial and left his team up 13-0.

Had the extra point split the uprights, the Mount Si second-half comeback would have fallen short by one point.

But that comeback was nowhere in sight at that moment, with Liberty swarming a Mount Si squad that seemed on its heels. With 3:10 left in the first half, Noel intercepted a Mount Si pass next to the pylon on the Liberty end zone, a play eerily similar to the one that ended Mount Si’s season against Liberty last year.

But in the second half, the roles reversed, and Mount Si came out swinging, forcing two turnovers and holding off the Liberty offense at the Wildcats’ 2-yard-line halfway through the third quarter.

On the ensuing drive, Mount Si got on the board with a field goal and one play later, recovered the ball on a Wildcat fumble.

It was all downhill from there. Six plays later, Wildcat Tyler Button’s catch in the end zone left the score 13-10 and Mount Si never looked back.

Mount Si head coach Charlie Kinnune said the credit for the comeback win belongs to the players.

“They really gutted it out,” said Kinnune, who celebrated his 100th win as a head coach.

Liberty head coach Steve Valach said his team would bounce back.

“The true test of character,” he said. “is when things don’t go your way.”

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