A relatively boring game that was 15-3 at halftime in favor of Liberty turned into a wild one as the Lions held on to beat Deer Valley 34-31 on Friday night.
Liberty struck first on a 77 yard Tyler Wyatt to Alex Hunter pass. Wyatt also hooked up with Kory Wilson on a scoring strike and converted the two-point try. Deer Valley's only points came on a 30 yard Angel Sanchez field goal. 15-3.
Deer Valley had a great opportunity to score as time expired in the 1st half but came up with no points. With the ball at the 19 with 23 seconds to play, the Skyhawks couldn't get the ball in the endzone and missed a field goal to end the half.
Down but certainly not out, Deer Valley QB Devon Palomino hit Kenneth Wright on the third play of the half on a 77 yard bomb to cut Liberty's lead to 15-10.
DV then took the lead and momentum in the middle of the 3rd. Palomino hit Wright on a 25 yard pass to the 2 yard line and Sy Munden punched it in. Palomino found Brian Calhoun on the two-point conversion. Deer Valley up 18-15.
Liberty took the momentum right back, scoring on their next two drives. Wyatt raced in from 20 yards out after hitting Wilson to get the Lions to the 32 yard line. Wyatt then kicked a FG as the 3rd quarter ended. Liberty now up 25-18.
Deer Valley's Steven Fisher intercepted Wyatt in the 4th and Deer Valley capitalized on the turnover. Palomino dumped the ball to RB Amyer Armstrong and Armstrong did the rest of the work, scoring to knot it back at 25.
Then things got interesting.
Liberty punted the ball and pinned Deer Valley inside the 5 yard line. A low snap in the end zone forced Palomino to scramble and he attempted to get rid of the ball. He was called for intentional grounding in the end zone and a safety was awarded to Liberty. 27-25.
The ball in Liberty's hands with 6 minutes to go, Wyatt was intercepted by Logan Adcock, giving Deer Valley life with 3 minutes to play.
Palomino hit Tyler Hoffman and Walt Jarvis for gains of 29 and 17 respectively. Armstrong then put the Skyhawks back ahead 31-27 on a TD run with 2:20 left.
Wyatt went to work hitting Chad Bennett then Alex Hunter for a combined 23 yards. The facing 3rd and 20, Wyatt connected with Bryce Utter on a bomb that gave the Lions the ball at the 25. A few seconds later Wyatt found Bennett on a 25 yard scoring pass. 34-31 Liberty with 58 seconds to play.
Deer Valley made it interesting, moving the ball to the 45 yard line but never got close enough to attempt a potential game tying field goal.
Final Liberty 34 Deer Valley 31
There were mistakes on both sides that could have made the game go one way or another but the bottomline lis that this was a good football game between two very solid football teams.
Liberty QB Tyler Wyatt could have thrown in the towel after being intercepted but was clutch in the final drive to give his team the win. Wyatt threw 2 TD passes, ran for another and kicked a FG.
Liberty Beats Deer Valley
24-7 Football Top Stories
Championship SaturdayRecaps of yesterday's 6A, 5A and 4A state championship games in Arizona