Turnovers plague Liberty High School Patriots in season opener

September 4, 2012

By Christina Corrales-Toy

Coming into the season, Liberty High School head coach Steve Valach stressed the importance of fundamentals for his young Patriots squad, in particular, taking care of the football.

But it was turnovers that put Liberty in the hole early, as the Patriots fell to Eastside Catholic, 41-14, in their season opener.

On the very first play of the game, Liberty fumbled the ball to the Crusaders. Eastside Catholic capitalized on the turnover for a quick score. The Patriots would go on to turn the ball over three more times, with two fumbles and an interception in the game.

“We talk about it being all about us,” Valach said. “We can’t do anything about our opponent and they’re a good football team. We’ve got a lot of room for improvement and you expect some mistakes in your first game, and for a lot of guys this was their first time out there. We expect better and we’ll get better.”

The Liberty offense could not get much going until the fourth quarter, when the Patriots scored two touchdowns. Quarterback Robbie Thomas scored on a 1-yard run and completed a 14-yard pass to wide receiver Tynan Gilmore for the second score.

Valach said he was impressed with the team’s effort and the players’ ability to play as a team.

“I liked their effort,” Valach said. “It was not lack of effort — our kids played hard. The true test of a team is when things go south, you’re either pointing fingers or you’re locking arms, and I think our guys they’re going to lock arms every time that happens.”

Up next, Liberty continues its nonconference schedule hosting Hazen High School at 7 p.m. Sept. 7.

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