LIBERTY — Talk about starting the season on a high note.
The Liberty North Eagles used a goal-line stand on a Lee’s Summit North two-point conversion try with 34 seconds remaining to hold on for a 23-21 victory on Friday, Aug. 30 at the Crossley Family Activity Complex.
“The defense made an incredible goal-line stand to win the thing,” Eagles coach Greg Jones said in a phone interview on Saturday, Aug. 31. “It was definitely one of those games where the fans got their money’s worth.”
No doubt. Junior Connor Baxley came up with the crucial stop to prevent the No. 6 state-ranked Broncos short of tying the contest.
“It was a huge program win for us, to knock off one of the top preseason-ranked teams in the city,” Jones said. “Last year they had a great year and they have some great athletes.”
The Broncos, recognized as the No. 2-ranked team in 810varsity.com’s greater Kansas City-area preseason poll, led the Eagles 7-3 after three quarters. But Liberty North dialed up three touchdowns to grab a 23-7 lead to start the fourth quarter.
Lee’s Summit North responded with a long touchdown run from Kansas State recruit Keyon Mozee and a Carlton Perkins touchdown pass to Jaden Moore, which preceded North’s goal-line stand to avoid overtime.
“That’s something they can build on,” Jones said of his defense, which was without senior linebacker Chase Jones due to injury. “They went out there and executed.”
Senior Keshawn Turner and junior Zac Willingham-Davis scored rushing touchdowns, while senior Jake Van Dyne tossed one to senior Luke Mathews for another score. Freshman kicker Blake Craig knocked in a 31-yard field goal to start the scoring.
But no play was bigger than Baxley’s game-saver.
“It was one of those storybook endings,” Jones said.
The Eagles hit the road to take on Truman on Friday, Sept. 6.