Issaquah School District teams reflect on 2012 missions accomplished

December 25, 2012

Jubilant members of the Issaquah High School boys swim team and their coaches hoist their state 4A second place team trophy and give themselves a cheer Feb. 18 at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way. By Greg Farrar

The Issaquah School District high school sports teams have a strong tradition of excellence, and 2012 was no different.

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Liberty’s Tynan Gilmore shows heart in final conference games

October 30, 2012

Tynan Gilmore, Liberty High School senior quarterback, drags a Mount Si senior defensive back into the end zone with his fourth-quarter punt return Oct. 26. By Greg Farrar

Though the Liberty High School Patriots lost to Mount Si, 35-7, on Oct. 26, to put their record at 3-6, it might be the best team Steve Valach has coached in his 14 years with Liberty.

“I tell you what,” he said. “If all my teams had the heart and courage of this year’s team, I’d coach until I was 100 years old.”

This was a rough season for the Patriots. Two seniors who might have had a shot as football scholarships decided to not even play this year, according to Valach.

The team has been rife with injuries. On Oct. 26, only 30 players suited up. The week before was even worse — 25.

But one of those injuries, a season-ending concussion for the Patriots’ starting quarterback, put one kid in the spotlight that no one in their right mind would want to be.

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Dan Braillard, longtime ‘Voice of the Patriots,’ dies

October 30, 2012

There are certain things that make the atmosphere at a Liberty High School football game special.

Dan Braillard

The smell of burgers sizzling on the grill, the sea of blue-and -green clad fans, the music of the band filling the stadium and, most distinctly, the sound of Patriot announcer Dan Braillard’s voice echoing through the night, all made the Friday night lights shine a little bit brighter.

“Friday night at Liberty was kind of a production,” Liberty coach Steve Valach said. “Dan used that microphone as a way to just enhance the whole experience. It was kind of like a Shakespearean performance.”

Braillard, who spent 25 years announcing Liberty football games and 15 years calling Patriot basketball games, died of kidney failure Oct. 1. He was 66.

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Liberty Patriots fail to stop Bellevue Wolverines

October 23, 2012

It was Liberty High School’s turn to face the juggernaut that is Wolverine football when the Patriots went on the road to play Bellevue on Oct. 19.

While the Patriots fell to Bellevue, 49-11, they were the first team in the state to put up more than 10 points on the Wolverines this season, behind a Josh Johnson field goal and a score by Tynan Gilmore, as well as a 2-point conversion.

Heading into the game, the team knew it was a tough test, going up against a Bellevue team that is ranked among the best in the nation, Liberty coach Steve Valach said.

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Liberty football team loses defensive battle to Mercer Island

October 16, 2012

There wasn’t much offense between the Liberty High School football team and Mercer Island when the two battled Oct. 12.

Both teams were able to move the ball, but getting it into the end zone wasn’t so easy, Liberty coach Steve Valach said.

“It wasn’t like there was no offense at all,” he said. “There was some movement of the ball, but then both sides kept getting shutdown and having to punt it or turning it over.”

Ultimately, Mercer Island was the only one to reach the end zone as Liberty fell to the Islanders, 7-3.

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Skyline football juggernaut steamrolls Ballard

October 9, 2012

The stars appeared to be in perfect alignment for most of the Issaquah School District’s KingCo football squads last weekend, as Skyline and Liberty won handily Oct. 5. The next night, Issaquah’s Eagles traveled to Memorial Stadium in Seattle to take on Garfield, where they overwhelmed the Bulldogs, 40-0.

Skyline kept its league accounting to an untarnished 3-0, when it hosted Ballard on Oct. 5, demoralizing the visitors, 64-17, to stay abreast of undefeated nemesis Newport in the league standings.

The lopsided triumph over Ballard also elevated the Spartans’ overall record to an unblemished 6-0 as they continued to humiliate their adversaries, as they had in the previous five outings. Skyline is currently averaging a formidable 58 points per contest, while relinquishing one-third that many points to its “competition.”

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Liberty High School Patriots pound Sammamish Totems

October 9, 2012

Scott Dean (right), Liberty High School senior defensive back, picks up a block from teammate Max Hill on Sammamish junior quarterback Allen Terrence, who threw the interception to Dean for his 65-yard touchdown as time expired at the half. By Greg Farrar

Coming off of two straight losses and with an injury list that grew longer by the minute, nothing had been easy for the Liberty High School football team.

Still, the Patriots continued to persevere and put in the work during practice, Liberty coach Steve Valach said.

On Oct. 5, the hard work paid off as a determined Liberty team knocked off Sammamish, 50-7, to bring their record to an even 3-3.

The Patriots had the game in hand by the end of the first quarter, when Liberty put up 36 points behind a strong rushing attack.

Tynan Gilmore put Liberty on the board first with a 26-yard rushing touchdown. On Liberty’s next possession, he did it again with a 22-yard score.

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Issaquah, Liberty host homecoming festivities

October 9, 2012

It’s homecoming time again and here’s what’s on the docket for Issaquah and Liberty high schools this week.

The theme for Liberty High School’s spirit week is “Lights, Camera, Liberty!” Students are dressing up all week at school and breaking out their spirit wear for Friday’s LHS Color War. Before the big game, catch the annual homecoming parade, which will begin at Maywood Middle School at 4 p.m. Oct. 12.

Liberty’s football team kicks off against Mercer Island at Liberty High School at 7 p.m. The week caps off Saturday night, Oct. 13, with the homecoming dance from 8:30-11:30 p.m.

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Liberty Patriots decimated by injuries in 38-7 loss

October 2, 2012

Liberty High School quarterback Robbie Thomas and a host of other Patriot starters were out with injuries when Liberty fell to Lake Washington, 38-7, Sept. 28.

Key Liberty starters including Thomas, linebackers Alex Batali and Matt Maggard, and cornerback Ashby Brown were among those sidelined by injuries, Liberty coach Steve Valach said.

“We’re a very thin squad in terms of numbers, which in the sport of football, is tough, because guys start going down and all of the sudden, you just don’t have a lot of depth,” he said. “So, that’s made it challenging.”

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Turnovers, injuries plague Liberty in loss to Juanita

September 25, 2012

The Liberty High School football team fell to Juanita, 28-21, on Sept. 21 when the Patriots traveled to Kirkland to take on the Rebels.

At halftime, the score was tied at 14, but the Patriots took a hit when three key starters — including quarterback Robbie Thomas — were knocked out of the game with injuries.

Those injuries, combined with several turnovers, were too much to overcome, Liberty coach Steve Valach said.

“It was a tough loss,” he said. “We had five turnovers and clearly it’s tough to win when you do that. I think that was a major factor in the game.”

Tynan Gilmore had two receiving touchdowns in the first half for the Patriots. Liberty sophomore Russell Boston had a touchdown catch in the fourth quarter.

Liberty heads out on the road again next week when the team takes on Lake Washington on Sept. 28.

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