Liberty's 'step forward' results in 22-16 victory

September 11, 1994|By Chuck Acquisto | Chuck Acquisto,Special to The Sun

Liberty shocked host Glenelg on the first play from scrimmage as Lions sophomore quarterback Ryan Pagels kept the football on an option sweep to the left sideline and scampered 65 yards untouched for a touchdown.

Liberty (1-0) fed off the confidence-building quick touchdown to earn a 22-16 win over Glenelg (0-1), snapping a two-game losing streak to the Gladiators in season openers.

"I told the team before the game we needed a one-game winning streak," said Liberty coach Ken Johnson, whose Lions have won two straight dating back to last season. "This was a big win for us because we felt pressure to improve. This was a major step forward for us."

Glenelg, having graduated 18 seniors and five All-County players from last year's 8-2 club, showed its inexperience by amassing costly penalties (six for 78 yards). A critical third-quarter face-mask infraction against the Glenelg defense, on third-down-and-eight for Liberty, kept a Lions scoring drive alive.

Five plays after the 15-yard penalty, Pagels plunged into the end zone from a yard out to push Liberty out in front 22-8 early in the fourth quarter.

"I don't think we were mentally able to recover after that first play of the game," said Glenelg senior running back Mike Deming. "Sure we were down only 8-0, but as young as we are, we are lacking the confidence that is needed to win."

Liberty (1-9 a year ago) never trailed after building an 8-0 lead against Glenelg.

"Coach wanted me to keep the ball on the first play to get in the swing of things and get rid of butterflies," said Pagels, who was hoisted into the air by his jubilant teammates after the game ended. "Our line just did an outstanding job of blocking today."

The Lions took a 16-6 halftime lead as junior halfback Brandon Scarborough (seven carries, 59 yards) burst around the left side for a 23-yard touchdown midway through the second quarter. Pagels (five carries, 60 yards) connected with Scarborough on a pass for a two-point conversion, the halfback's second of the afternoon.

Scarborough, Pagels, senior fullback Terry Rheubottom, junior tailback Bill Schafer and senior wingback Eric Cook combined for 218 rushing yards. Pagels' only two pass attempts fell incomplete.

Glenelg's lone offensive bright spot was its running game, highlighted by Deming. The 5-foot-8, 195-pound senior scored twice from five yards out, despite suffering a deep thigh bruise midway through the second quarter.

Deming, a blocking understudy the past two seasons, finished the game with 19 carries for 85 yards. Liberty's defense, led by senior lineman Bob Dickey (nine tackles), pressured Glenelg senior quarterback and third-year starter Sean Lookingbill (5-for-15, 74 yards) all afternoon, intercepting one pass and forcing a fumble to end the first half.

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