ELDERSBURG — Liberty’s cheerleaders stood on opposite sides of the end zone and held up a sign that read “This Is Our Den,” and the Lions football team tore through it entering the field.
The Lions brought energy and wasted no time in showing that as they defeated Oakland Mills 51-13 in a Class 2A West opener Friday.
The Lions (7-3) got touchdowns from Nate Kent, Tommy Nelson, Peyton Scheufele, and Mike Spitz, and a 29-yard field goal from Sean Disbrow, in the team’s second postseason win of all-time.
“We dominated on both sides of the ball tonight and put up 51 points and we haven’t done that all year,” Kent said. “That helps us going forward and our defense gave up seven, relatively, and that just gives us a huge confidence-booster for the rest of the season. They’re a high-power offense normally, and they get a lot of yards and points so we held them to 13 and it was good for us.”
Liberty recovered a muffed fair catch from Oakland Mills early in the first quarter, and the Lions took advantage with a 31-yard touchdown run from Kent. The Lions’ defense held the Scorpions to a second three-and-out and closed out their next drive with Disbrow’s field goal.
Oakland Mills quarterback Kai Castle picked up 9 yards on the Scorpions’ next drive, but eventually turned the ball over on downs. Liberty sophomore running back Tommy Nelson scampered down the field for a 42-yard touchdown on the next play to make it 17-0 with 34 seconds left in the quarter.
Castle’s 41-yard touchdown trimmed the Scorpions’ deficit 17-7 early in the second quarter, and they recovered an onside kick as well. However, Liberty recovered a fumble to regain possession.
The Lions picked up 23 yards before Kent was intercepted by Oakland Mills junior Antoine Holmes, but they responded by recovering another Scorpions fumble four plays later. Nelson ran in for a 21-yard touchdown with 1:51 left in the second quarter to give the Lions a 30-7 lead.
Scheufele kept the Lions rolling when he caught a 17-yard pass from Kent to close out the half with the Lions leading 37-7 and Kent threw another touchdown pass early in the third quarter — this time a 22-yarder to Spitz.
“We have so many elements to our offense and our defense, everyone on that field," Scheufele said. "I trust everybody to stop it, outside or inside. We’ve got McClain, keeping the edge, and in games like this, our plan was to make them run it inside and that’s what we did. Our coaches put in some good game plans and we followed it and it worked.”
Freshman quarterback Jack Pellicciotti checked in for the Lions with 9:13 left to play and immediately threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Scheufele to give the team a 51-7 lead with 8:06 left to play.
Liberty travels to Glenelg in the next round. Kent said the team has grown closer as the season progressed and the expectations are higher moving forward.