Patriots wrap up spring ball
June 24, 2014
By Christina Corrales-Toy
As the Liberty High School football team wrapped up its spring practices June 17, not much looked different on the Patriots’ field.
Music blared, whistles sounded and footballs flew into the outstretched hands of open receivers.
This season will be different, though, for all Liberty sports teams, as they prepare to move from the 3A to 2A level.
“It doesn’t change the way we prepare at all,” incoming senior Russell Boston said. “We’re just going to come out and play football like we know how.”
Liberty’s regular season schedule doesn’t change. The school is still part of the KingCo 3A/2A Conference, meaning the Patriots will continue to face the likes of Bellevue and Juanita. The nonconference schedule now includes a season-opening game against Lakewood, a 2A team, though.
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Liberty will still play their Renton Highlands rivals, Hazen, during the season’s second week. The schedule also includes Mount Si in what will be a nonconference game, as the Wildcats make the jump to 4A next year.
Boston, a running back and safety, leads a class of Liberty seniors intent on leaving a lasting legacy on the program, showing what it means to be a Patriot, he said.
“We come to win. We don’t come giving a half-hearted effort. You don’t come lackadaisical. You come into the game expecting that you can win every rep against the guy across from you, because once you get that mindset, there’s nothing that the team can’t do,” Boston said of the “Liberty way.”
Boston sat out most of spring practice with a hamstring injury, but that was by design, coach Steve Valach said, to make sure the team captain and all-league performer was rested and ready for September.
Other key Liberty returning players include lineman Nate Jarvis, linebacker Drew Hall, linebacker Romney Noel and lineman Mitch McQuigg, all seniors. Noah Pritchett, a promising lineman who started as a freshman last year, also returns along with quarterback Nate Solly, who heads into his junior year.
“The senior class is a great group of kids,” Valach said. “They’re among the best group of seniors that have ever gone through here in terms of just who they are.”
The Patriots will continue a steady regimen of strength and conditioning sessions throughout the summer, Valach said. They will also attend the team camp hosted by former Skyline coach Steve Gervais at Evergreen State College.
It is there that the team will pick its word, or motto, for the season. Until then, the team has operated under the theme of “one.”
“That idea of ‘one’ is back,” Valach said. “That’s kind of been the catchphrase. It’s the idea of being one, and being unified and going after this together.”
The Patriots’ 2014 season begins Sept. 5 against Lakewood High School.