By J. Daniel Rollins
For The Register-Herald
COAL CITY —
Independence was coming off of a tough 48-20 loss at home to Summers County. The last time Liberty took the field, it suffered a 38-0 defeat at the hands of Webster County.
The showdown was a wild shootout that came down to the wire.
Independence walked away with the victory, a 40-37 upset over the cross-county rival Raiders
Liberty got the game started with a 30-yard touchdown pass from Joe Lacek to Josh Brown following a series of turnovers from both teams.
Lacek would once again find the end zone from 30 yards out as he connected with Matt Bailey. Josh Brown’s kick was blocked by Independence.
The normal ground attack from the Patriots’ offense took a backseat, as quarterback Brian Sexton found Aaron Tolliver down the sideline for a 40-yard touchdown to make it 13-6.
On the next possession, the Raiders Ryan Moore coughed up the ball and John Powell recovered. Four plays later, Powell found the end zone, and also converted the extra point, to give Independence its first lead of the game, 14-13.
The Raiders wouldn’t be down for long as just 12 seconds later, Lacek connected on a missile to Bailey to pick up 63 yards and the touchdown. Brown’s kick was good, and Liberty was back on top 20-14.
Early in the second, period, Lacek was deep in his own territory when his protection broke down. Scrambling, he chose to throw the ball away from his own end zone, which resulted in an intentional grounding penalty and a safety. Liberty’s lead was cut to 20-16.
Independence took the chance to capitalize on great field position with their two headed run attack of Powell and Tolliver marching down the field, finally resulting in a touchdown for the Patriots and a two-point conversion. Patriots back on top 24-20.
Once again, Liberty’s Joey Lacek would take to the air, this time finding Tre’Shaun McDowell on a 36-yard touchdown pass. Liberty was back on top 28-24.
It would be short lived, however, as with 21 seconds remaining in the half, Powell found paydirt and the lead as the Pats carried a 32-28 lead into the half.
In the fourth, trailing by one following a Brown field goal, Liberty’s Hunter Wright connected with McDowell for the touchdown, but failed to convert the extra point. Liberty now led 37-32.
The Patriots responded with a touchdown of their own, as John Powell scored the touchdown and the extra point to put Indy up 40-37.
Liberty would be within striking distance again with 21 seconds remaining in the game. On a 4th and 19 play, Wright passed over the head of Matthew Bailey, giving the Patriots the victory.
“We’re glad to have a victory following a couple of tough losses,” Cuthbert said after the game. “We mixed in some passes, trying to catch them off guard and it worked. Happy to have this victory.”
Independence welcomes in PikeView next week while Liberty hosts James Monroe.
Independence 40, Liberty 37
L (4-3) 20 8 3 6 — 37
I (3-4) 14 18 0 8 — 40
L: Joey Lacek 30 yard touchdown pass to Josh Brown (Josh Brown kick), 10:25
L: Matt Bailey 30 pass from Lacek (Kick blocked), 7:56
I: Aaron Tolliver 40 pass from Brian Sexton (Pass failed), 5:07
I: John Powell 1 run. (2:45) (Run good)
L: Bailey 63 pass from Lacek (Brown kick), 2:23
I: Safety, Lacek intentional grounding from the end zone, 11:52
I: Tolliver 1 yard touchdown pass. (Pass good), 8:42
L: Tre’Shaun McDowell 27 pass from Lacek (Run good), 5:40
I: Powell 1 run. (Run good), 0:21
L: Josh Brown 27 FG, 5:40
L: McDowell 36 pass from Wright (Pass failed), 9:36
I: Powell 13 run (Run good), 8:01
RUSHING — L: Matthew Bailey 14-76 yards, Joey Lacek 10-41, Hunter Wright 5-18. I: John Powell 17-127-3, Colton Ward 14-68, Aaron Tolliver 12-32-1.
PASSING — L: Lacek 10-21, 246-4; Wright 3-5, 66-1. I: Brian Sexton 6-8, 124-1.
RECEIVING — L: Treshaun McDowell 5-94-2, Bailey 3-134-2, Brown 3-38-1. I: Tolliver 3-74-1, John Powell 1-19, Cody Collins 2-31.