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Friday, May 6, 2016

Eagles can't hang with Cats

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

JUMP BALL: Tommy Martin skies to catch a Jard Foley pass while two Liberty defenders converge on the ball. Photo/Mullins
If there was one thing the Mountain View/Birch Tree Liberty Eagles had established through the first three football games of the season, it was that quarterback Kole Gastineau had in his possession the keys to a high-octane offense.

This was proven by the 117 points the Eagles had scored in weeks one through three, resulting in a perfect 3-0 mark for Liberty.

That explains why the Eagles are ranked fifth in Class 2 in the state.

STRETCH: Thayer defensive back Jared Foley closes in on Liberty's Jon Moore as he tries to reel in a pass Sept. 19. Photo/Grant Martin
On the flip side of the coin, through the first three weeks of the 2009 season, the Thayer Bobcats had served notice that they would not be pushed around by any high-flying offense and had kept both speedy Springfield Central and powerful Malden in check.

And now we can add the Liberty Eagles to the list of offenses that have been flattened by the impressive defenders from Thayer in the 2009 campaign.

Holding Liberty to a shade over 200 yards of total offense on the night, the Cats crushed the Eagles 21-0 Sept. 18 at Louis Bozman Stadium.

BULLDOZER: Cameron Carey leaves a pile of Liberty Eagles in his wake. Photo/Grant Martin
That's right -- zero points.

The Eagles defense had no such luck in stopping the Bobcats' ground attack, as the Thayer offensive line pushed, shoved and punched Liberty all evening long, giving the Cats' running backs plenty of space to operate.

Taking advantage of that space, Josh Huckabee racked up 215 yards and all three Thayer touchdowns on 34 carries. Cameron Carey added 73 yards on 10 carries. For the game, the Bobcats notched 326 yards of total offense.

The Bobcats were without the services of Stefan Cotham in the game and Big Eli Martin watched most of the contest from the sideline after suffering a shoulder injury in the early going.

And the contest didn't start off real rosy for Thayer (3-1).

The Bobcats botched the opening kick and Liberty (3-1) recovered the football at the Bobcat 25-yard line.

However, on third down, the Cats stripped the ball from Daniel Porter and Huckabee fell on it at the Thayer 20.

Marching down the field in eight plays, seven of them rushes by Huckabee, the Bobcats put together an 80-yard scoring drive. Huckabee wrapped up the drive with a 1-yard TD run with 7:11 left in the first quarter. Ethan Leisenring kicked the PAT and Thayer led 7-0.

Liberty fashioned a good-looking drive on its next series and the Eagles drove the football down to the Bobcat 14-yard line right before the end of the first quarter.

But the Thayer defense stood its ground and on fourth-and-4 from the 14, Tommy Martin threw Liberty's Jon Moore for a 4-yard loss, giving the football to Thayer on downs.

The Eagles attempted six fourth-down conversions in the game and were only successful one time.

Thayer ate up most of the clock in the second quarter and scored two touchdowns to take a big lead at intermission.

The first TD came on an 11-yard Huckabee scamper up the middle with 8:46 left in the quarter.

After the Cats held Liberty to three-and-out, Huckabee racked up his third TD on a 1-yard blast on third-and-goal with 4:50 on the clock.

Jared Foley ran in the 2-point conversion to boost the Bobcats in front 21-0.

Liberty's next drive ended with a turnover -- a fumble recovered by Jeremy Cabrales -- and Thayer took a three-touchdown lead to the half.

Neither team scored in the second half as the Eagles simply had no answer for the Bobcats' defensive front.

Liberty did push the football inside the Thayer 14-yard line on the Eagles' first series of the second half, but a fumble that was recovered in the end zone by Foley snuffed that chance out. That proved to be as deep as the Eagles could get in the last two quarters and Thayer won its third game of the season with an impressive 21-0 shutout of Liberty.

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