MANCHESTER — Liberty couldn’t have asked for a more efficient start.
Fresh off a statement win over Westminster last week, the Lions carried their momentum into a Carroll County Athletic League matchup on the road against Manchester Valley.
Nate Kent took the offense on the opening drive 82 yards down the field on 14 plays, and the junior quarterback finished things off with a 4-yard touchdown run.
Liberty (8-0, 4-0) scored on each of its first five drives and never looked back en route to a 42-0 win over the Mavericks, keeping the only undefeated start in program history intact.
“We had a good week of practice up to this point,” Kent said. “We had confidence in each other, our coaches called good plays and we executed them.”
Kent accounted for four total touchdowns — two passing and two rushing — all in the first half, and found Ryan Luthe twice through the air on scoring passes of 15 and 6 yards.
Nicholas Henderson added a 22-yard touchdown run late in the first quarter.
Liberty (8-0, 4-0 county) jumped to a 35-0 halftime lead and forced a running clock to start the third quarter.
The Mavericks saw little success offensively and the Liberty defense held strong. Led by junior linebacker McClain Butler — Carroll’s leader in tackles — the Lions’ defense registered its fourth shutout this season and second in three weeks.
Man Valley didn’t account for a first down until midway through the second quarter.
The Mavs’ best offensive drive came late in the second half, after an interception by Holden Schmale.
The senior defensive back provided fantastic coverage and took away a potential touchdown pass from Kent, giving Man Valley possession on its own 3-yard line.
Rushes from Brandon Yingling brought the Mavs (2-6, 1-4) close to midfield, but a holding penalty on a Dallas Engel pass to Sam Riley backed the offense up, eventually forcing a punt.
Neither team saw much offensive success in a quick second half.
Liberty’s Chris Smith accounted for the only score in the final two quarters.
Chris Jones’ interception and a penalty to follow put the Lions within the Mavs’ 10-yard line. Smith capped off the drive on a 5-yard touchdown run with 2:26 left to play.
With the win, Liberty inches closer to a CCAL title and continue its push to the postseason in a competitive Class 2A West Region.
They head home to host Francis Scott Key next week. The Eagles are coming off a 33-7 loss to South Carroll on Thursday.
Man Valley will face SC on the road next Friday in their final CCAL game before wrapping up the regular season against Poolesville.
“In the moment we’re going to enjoy it a lot tonight, keep it rolling,” Kent said on the win. “Eight-and-oh is a good number right there, but we’ve got a lot more work to do.”
Liberty 21 14 0 7 — 42
Man Valley 0 0 0 0 — 0
L-Nate Kent 4 run (Sean Disbrow kick)
L-Nicholas Henderson 22 run (Disbrow kick)
L-Ryan Luthe 6 pass from Kent (Disbrow kick)
L-Kent 30 run (Disbrow kick)
L-Luthe 15 pass from Kent (Disbrow kick)
Latest Carroll County High School Sports
L-Chris Smith 5 run (Disbrow kick)