Before the game, Liberty senior Corey Luthe, flanked by family members, approached his football coach and extended his arms for a hug.
When Larry Luthe, the head coach, doubles as your father, it makes for quite the memorable Senior Night pregame moment.
In a night all the Lions will remember, Corey Luthe rushed for a career-high 112 yards and two touchdowns, and younger brother Ryan Luthe had an interception in Liberty's 37-0 win over North Hagerstown on Friday.
Liberty (8-1) has won seven games in a row entering next weekend's pivotal matchup at rival Century. A win would allow Liberty to clinch the county title outright and help its Class 2A West playoff seeding in the process. Liberty is also seeking the first nine-win season in program history.
Corey Luthe has been playing offense for just a few weeks. He stepped in for injured starter Blaine Roach on Friday and more than held his own in the backfield. It was a milestone evening for Corey, who wrote his college essay about what it's like to be the son of the head football coach.
As a sophomore, sometimes, he wondered: Am I here because I earned my spot, or am I here because my dad is the coach? Now, he's one of the team's leaders.
There is no question of his spot on the team now. He broke the post-game huddle Friday night, not his father.
"Now, I love having my dad as the coach," Corey said. "He's my best friend and he's the best coach I could possibly ask for."
In the Senior Night comments he prepared that were read over the public address system, almost those same exact words were uttered.
For Larry Luthe, it was a proud evening, with two sons making huge plays and the entire team being dominant from first play to final snap. In the end, he credited all his players for a near flawless defensive performance. He rattled off the names of offensive linemen, wide receivers and running backs.
One got the sense he would talk all evening if allowed about the accomplishments of the Lions.
"Corey is always my son," said Luthe, who has known many of the Lions seniors for several years. "I will always have my fatherly pride. But when he's out there, he's just another football player."
That's the approach he needs to balance being father and coach. So far, it's working for Liberty, led by one of the most successful senior classes in school history.
The Lions were dominant against a struggling North Hagerstown team (2-7) with just three wins in its last 29 games.
Liberty held a 325-6 edge at halftime in total yards. Junior safety Noah Rohrer had two tackles for loss in the first half. Ryan Luthe's interception on North Hagerstown's first series of the game set up Corey Luthe's first touchdown run, a 3-yard scamper that gave the Lions a 7-0 lead in the first minute.
When Corey Luthe returned to the sideline, he was greeted by teammates, coaches and former Liberty athletics standout Nick Griffin, who was back for Homecoming. Griffin helped hold up the play cards used to signal offensive plays.
Spence Kirin, a defensive leader, had an eight yard touchdown grab for the Lions, He also added a second half interception.
Corey Luthe added a 1-yard touchdown run and Nick Lappotta had his second touchdown grab in two weeks to push Liberty's halftime lead to 27-0.
The Hubs didn't get their initial first down until 6 minutes remained in the third quarter.
Brett Dardzinski added a 23-yard field goal for the Lions in the fourth quarter and Rohrer capped an impressive evening with a 15-yard touchdown run.
Rohrer had 86 yards rushing for Liberty. Kevin Foster had 48 yards on nine carries.
Next up: Century. All the Liberty coaches encouraged players to watch extra game film, in between the Homecoming dance, of course. And a smiling Luthe, happy father, happy coach, kept repeating the same message to his players.