The first half wasn't nearly as interesting as the second as Sunrise Mountain had a 10-7 lead at halftime. The Mustangs got a field goal out of J.J. Nash and TD run from Garrett Veldhuizen. Liberty RB Colton Newton scored for the Lions in the second quarter.
But we had a shoot out in the second half.
Sunrise recovered a Liberty fumble on a bad snap on the first drive of the half and it didn't take long for Chase Cord to score and put SM up 17-7.
Liberty then was stopped on a 4th down try and it was Cord again doing work. He threw a 40 yard TD pass to senior Zack Pells. SM was up 24-7 and had all of the momentum.
Sunrise forced a Liberty punt and wanted to put this game away, electing to go for it on 4th down at midfield, Liberty's defense came up with a huge stop and their offense capitalized, scoring on a Colton Newton run. Liberty had life and I felt this was a key point in the game.
Sunrise responded on another Cord TD pass, this one to Angel Ruiz. The score was set up after a Cord to Veldhuizen big pass play. 31-13 Sunrise after three quarters.
It was Newton again, scoring for Liberty. The Lions elected to go for two and were stopped. 31-19 Sunrise.
Sunrise answered with a J.J. Nash field goal. 34-19.
Still with hope, Liberty marched the field and got within eight. QB Andrew Magri hit Jace Johnson on a pass that got the Lions to the one and Magri snuck in from a yard out. 34-26 with 5 minutes left.
Liberty's defense rose to the occasion, forcing a punt, which was mishandled and recovered by the Lions. Liberty had the ball, down eight with four minutes to play at the Sunrise 35 yard line.
Newton rumbled for 12 yards and then Magri hit Ryan Bendle on an 18 yard TD pass. 34-32.
It looked as though Liberty would tie it, converting the two-point try but it was called back for holding and the Lions couldn't convert the second opportunity.
Sunrise recovered the onside kick and had 3 minutes and 27 seconds to try and take off the clock.
They managed to get one first down but failed on a 4th down try, giving Liberty the ball back at the 29 yard line with 1:06 to play.
Eleven seconds later and the Lions were near field goal position. A pass interference call, a Magri to Hunter Compise pass plus a personal foul moved the ball to the Sunrise 28 yard line.
First and 10 with 55 seconds left.
But Liberty was not able to complete another pass, turning the ball over on downs with 30 seconds left.
Final: Sunrise Mountain 34 Liberty 32
This was one heck of a football game. This is how high school football is supposed to be played. Rivals battle in a close game, sold out crowd, not a ton of stupid penalties that often occur in rivalry games. Just a fun atmosphere and a game I was glad to be at.
Sure, there were things that I am sure both coaches would have done differently or arm chair QBs would criticize but that's okay. Both teams should be commended for a well fought game.
Sunrise QB Chase Cord accounted for three TDs, two passing and one on the ground.