LIBERTY — Liberty football was pushed to its limits against Park Hill after junior running back Wentric Williams III left the game with an injury late in the first quarter Friday, Oct. 9 at Liberty High School.
But the Blue Jays rallied around sophomore running back Anthony Wenson and the ball-hawking defense as the team pulled out a 24-21 victory.
Liberty opened up the scoring with a 43-yard touchdown run from junior wide receiver Caden Dennis on the team’s opening offensive possession.
The lead was short lived as Park Hill quarterback Anthony Hall drove his team down the field on the next possession to tie the game up with a 4-yard passing touchdown to Jaylin Noel.
The Blue Jays methodically marched down field on a nearly seven-minute drive that ended in a 36-yard field goal from senior kicker Alek Rottjakob for a 10-7 Liberty lead.
More importantly, Williams entered the medical tent and would not return during the game for the Blue Jays.
The Trojans quickly took back the lead. Hall, who had 303 yards passing, found PJ Caldwell for a 10-yard passing touchdown early in the second quarter. He found Caldwell again for a 67-yard score to go up 21-10 with six minutes in the first half.
The Blue Jays responded with a scoring drive late in the half. Quarterback Tyler Lininger threw an 18-yard strike to wide receiver Ricky Ahumaraeze for a touchdown with just over a minute before halftime.
Hall and the Trojans nearly returned the favor as they drove down to the LHS 34-yard line, but Ahumaraeze made another big grab as he intercepted a pass on the 15-yard line.
Liberty would trail until Wenson punched the ball in for a 1-yard rushing touchdown at the end of the third quarter. Wenson finished with 158 yards on 35 carries.
With a 24-21 lead, it was the Blue Jays defense that put the finishing touches on the victory. Park Hill forced a punt on Liberty’s first drive of the second half, but senior linebacker Jalen Weston got the ball right back with an interception near midfield.
Liberty almost gave Park Hill some life with its own interception early in the fourth quarter, but two-plays later Caden Dennis snatched away a ball intended for Caldwell.
Without Williams, the Blue Jays couldn’t find a fourth-quarter score to put the game out of reach. Luckily, Park Hill couldn’t either and Liberty held on.
The Blue Jays (7-0, 6-0 Suburban Gold) will face Raymore-Peculiar (6-1, 4-1 Suburban Gold) Friday, Oct. 16 at home.