UNIONTOWN — After Liberty's post-game huddle, junior quarterback Ben Agostino couldn't stop smiling.
And for good reason: He's 4-0 as the starting quarterback.
Agostino threw for four touchdowns in a 42-7 win over Francis Scott Key on Friday night.
The Lions (6-2, 4-1 county) ensured they will finish with back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 2007-08. Liberty is also still alive for a second consecutive Class 2A West playoff berth. The Lions entered this week fifth in the region behind Walkersville. Four teams in each region make the playoffs.
When the season began, Agostino served as the backup. There was a preseason competition for the starting quarterback job, one that he lost to senior David Downs. It was disappointing, he said. But he said he kept working hard, which surprised nobody.
Coach Larry Luthe said he has seven players with straight A's through their high school careers. And Agostino is one of them.
During Liberty's loss to South Carroll, Agostino got the chance to play in the second half. And he hasn't looked back. In addition to throwing for 124 yards, he also did not have any turnovers. The Lions were also not guilty of any false starts, one sign of a composed quarterback behind center.
Meanwhile, Downs has switched back to receiver, where he is one of the county's most dangerous weapons. He paced Liberty with 62 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Senior Jarrett Pfeifer also had two touchdown catches for Liberty, which never trailed. Pfeifer added a first half interception.
The 6-foot-2 Downs and the 6-foot-3 Pfeifer are an athletic duo and red zone weapons. They have made a habit of leaping over shorter defensive backs for touchdowns this year.
"Man, I'm blessed," Agostino said. "To have two receivers like that? You don't see that too often."
A midseason quarterback change can be a tricky proposition for a high school coaching staff. But this one at Liberty has worked, Luthe said, because the senior leaders have embraced the team's talented underclassmen.
"The chemistry with this group is unbelievable," Luthe said.
"I've felt welcome here since I was a freshman in the weight room," Agostino said.
Speedy sophomore Noah Rohrer had a 85-yard kickoff return for a touchdown on the second half's opening kickoff to give Liberty a 27-7 lead. He also had an interception.
Senior Nick Bonomo had a team-high 99 yards rushing.
FSK senior CJ Goon, who entered the game third in the county in rushing, had another productive evening. He had a 68-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter, where he outran the Liberty defense. On the play, he got a terrific block from receiver Drew O'Melia.
Camden Cregger had 163 passing yards for FSK.
The Eagles (0-7, 0-4) have two more chances against North Carroll and Winters Mill to pick up their first win since 2013.
Goon and his teammates are optimistic that they are capable of achieving a triumph that would boost the entire community.
Meanwhile, the jubilant Lions players returned to the locker room, celebrating a fourth straight win behind their young junior quarterback. Liberty keeps winning and the players are embracing success.