Midseason Report Card: Liberty football gets a ‘C’ grade
Thursday, Oct. 10
Liberty's Ian Vowels leads the way for Garrett Utterback Sept. 27 during the Eagles' 52-24 loss to Broad Run. --Photo by Rick Wasser
The Liberty Eagles worried a lot of people last year when they opened 3-3. The stretch included a 21-0 loss to Western Albemarle and a horrible 41-7 loss to Warren County.
Fear and doubt reigns again as the Eagles have pulled into the midseason at 1-4.
Liberty responded triumphantly with a monumental upset of Kettle Run, blowout of Fauquier and strong run into the D-4 playoffs. But Liberty's odds of a similar reversal starting Friday at Culpeper (3-2) are looking less likely simply because the Eagles' defense has been unable to stop the powerful offenses lining up against them.
The Eagles look like they should be a really good team but the results don’t support it.
The problem isn’t the offense. New quarterback Garrett Watts has proven to be a confident playmaker who is completing 60.6 percent of his passes and for a solid 136 passing yards a game. Running backs Jaquan Sinclair, Martin Parker and T.J. Hogan are reliable producers (rushing for a combined 11 touchdowns), even if none has emerged as a star. Receivers Rodman Munson, Garrett Utterback, Ian Vowels and Aaron Walters are a team strength.
But it’s hard to have a good GPA when you’re failing a course, and the Eagles are dreadful on defense, allowing 45 points a game in their four losses.
With games against Culpeper and Brentsville, the chances of Liberty improving to 3-4 are strong, but the final three games against Eastern View, Kettle Run and Fauquier will require complete efforts on both sides of the ball.
Liberty teams in past years have always been ready for games like those. This year, we’re not sure it’s gonna happen.
Offensive MVP: Garrett Watts, quarterback.
Defensive MVP: T.J. Hogan, linebacker.
Unsung hero: Tommy Smith, kicker.
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