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Saturday, October 29, 2005

Liberty snaps losing skid with win over Tigers

With its playoff hopes on the line, Class AA No. 16 Liberty ended a three-game losing skid with a 34-21 victory over Shady Spring in Glen Daniel Friday.

“We had three bad weeks really,” Liberty coach Jeff Alexander said. “First James Monroe. Then we lost a heart-breaker to Independence and then we got beat up pretty good by Scott. We just kept telling our kids that this is a part of football. You have to fight through the bad times and we did. We’re trying to stay focused. We have another game next week and we’re just trying to fight through all the bad stuff and stay together.”

The Raiders’ resurgence was led by the backfield duo of Josh Hodge and Tommy Newman.

Hodge slashed through the Tigers’ defense for 212 yards on 15 carries and three touchdown runs. The 5-foot-8, 160-pound junior also hauled in two passes for 34 yards.

“Everybody is keying on Tommy,” Alexander said. “They know what kind of back he is. Guys like Hodge and (Nick) Hylton, they’re loving it because nobody is keying on them. It’s great for them.”

Newman, a 5-11, 216-pound senior, pounded out 110 yards and two TDs on 17 touches and caught two passes for 22 yards.

Liberty (6-3) jumped out to a 14-0 lead after one quarter of play. Hodge capped the opening drive of the game with a six-yard run and Newman finished off the Raiders second drive with another six-yard jaunt.

Shady Spring (2-7) found its offense in the second quarter. Shane Phillips connected with Eric Lucas for a 92-yard pass play and then snuck the ball in from two yards out on the next play.

“They jumped on us early and caught us off-guard,” Shady coach Vince Culicerto said. “We were in a little bit of shock until we started moving the ball and had a big play. Then, our kids got excited and we came back.”

Down 20-6 at the half, the Tigers got back into the contest with a 14-play drive to open the third quarter. Phillips finished the drive by bootlegging the ball around the left end from five yards out.

“We went with a split-back offense,” Culicerto said. “We hadn’t shown it in the first half. It was working great. We took the score down and got fired up and then they got us back on a play that we couldn’t stop all night.”

The score could have been a blow to the Raiders but on the first play from scrimmage on the ensuing drive, Hodge scampered 66 yards for his second touchdown. The play re-ignited Liberty.

“I think it did,” Alexander said. “Even though they went down and scored on that first drive — there was a tipped pass that kept their drive going and a penalty that kept them alive — we told our kids to just hang in there and stay focused and we’re going to be fine. We get the ball back and take it the distance.”

Phillips threw for 164 yards for the Tigers and rushed for 12 yards and two scores.

Liberty travels to Wyoming East Friday to finish the regular season.

Liberty 34, Shady Spring 21

SS (2-8) 0 6 15 0 — 21

L (6-3) 14 6 8 6 — 34

First Quarter

L: Josh Hodge 6 run (kick failed) 8:14

L: Tommy Newman 6 run (Hodge pass from Austin Wright) 2:03

Second Quarter

SS: Shane Phillips 2 run (kick failed) 7:15

L: Newman 4 run (pass failed) 1:19

Third Quarter

SS: Phillips 5 run (Jerry Farrish kick) 5:02

L: Hodge 66 run (Nick Hylton kick) 4:38

SS: Dustin Syveryson 5 run (Phillips run) 0:35

Fourth Quarter

L: Hodge 52 run (run failed) 2:54


RUSHING — SS: Farrish 15-27, Syveryson 8-27-1, Shane Phillips 3-12-2, Joshua Barber 3-11, Michael Bosio 2-13. L: Hodge 15-212-3, Newman 17-110-2, Hylton 6-36, Wright 2-(-10), Jeremy King 2-14, Cody Carter 1-4.

PASSING — SS: Phillips 5-18-1-164-0. L: Wright 5-8-1-68-0.

RECEIVING — SS: Eric Lucas 2-113, Derek Lewis 2-26, Travis Mullins 1-25. L: Hodge 2-34, Newman 2-22, Sam Parris 1-12.

TURNOVERS — SS: Lucas (int.), Lewis (fr). L: Hylton (fr), Josh Caron (int.).

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