For the second year in a row, The Liberty Patriots were the second seed in the Central Section Division 1 playoffs. Last year they lost a heart breaker to Clovis in the second round. This year’s team has appeared to be even better, and hungry for the Valley Title.
After a 3-2 start, they have bounced back to win 7 in a row. Two of those wins came against last year’s state champions, The Bakersfield Drillers, who were held to 14 points or less in the two games. The Patriots also held Clovis West to six points, and pitched three shutouts during this winning streak of pure chaos. These Patriots have made it to the championship game on a hot streak, and they don’t plan on slowing down.
Edison should be undefeated right now, if it wasn’t for the one point loss to Sanger. The loss has appeared to make The Tigers stronger, and they have a keen eye on the Valley Title. Since the loss, Edison is on a 5 game winning streak, holding their opponents to no more than 14 points.
This Edison team relies on nothing but themselves; they play as a team and give it 110% on each snap. They really know how to adjust to their opponents playing style, and are generally a stronger team in the second half. If the Patriots let up once, Edison will capitalize. This game will be very close, and might come down to one great play, or great disaster. Both of these teams are polished, and are used to winning big games.
December 5, 2014
It was a perfect California December night at Sunnyside Stadium. The Edison Tigers played host to the Liberty Patriots of Bakersfield in an epic showdown for the 2014 Division 1 Valley Championship. As Kickoff approached, both sides of the stadium filled to capacity, and the fans were already loud and pumped up for this historic game.
This game will permanently change the legacy for one of these schools. Edison hasn’t won the Valley Title since 1969, and Liberty has yet to win a Valley Title in their history. After tonight’s game, that will all change.
Edison received the ball to start the game, as every fan was on their feet cheering; this had an “NFL” atmosphere! AJ Greeley nearly returned the kickoff for a touchdown, but was stopped by a shoe string tackle. Later in that first drive, Greeley caught a big pass for big yardage. After some unfortunate penalties were called against Liberty, Edison had the ball on the Patriots one yard line. This is when Khai Williams punched it in for a one yard touchdown to give Edison the early lead (7-0).
Liberty would get their chance to answer back with a score of their on in the first quarter. The Patriots managed to drive the ball down to Edison’s 15 yard line. This is when Jordan Love tossed a beauty towards the end zone. The ball would have been a touchdown against any other team, but not Edison. Tigers Defensive Back Tyler Horton uses his leaping ability to cut off the receiver’s route and catch a big time interception to maintain the lead for Edison.
Liberty would find a little redemption in the second quarter when running back Anthony Mariscal caught a catch in traffic for a big gain. Mariscal has great hip movement, and it allows him to squeeze into tight spaces. Mariscal would then finish off his own drive with a gutsy one yard touchdown run on fourth down (7-7).
During halftime, emotions began to kick in as many players realized this could be their last time ever putting on football pads and playing the sport they love. The fans also began to get loud again as the players came back out. The tied up game meant this was going to possibly be a crazy finish to a close game.
Just like last week, Tigers linebacker Chris Allison came up with a clutch fumble recovery. This time he was able to pick the ball up and return it nearly for a touchdown; he was brought down at Liberty’s one yard line. Once again Khai Williams finished off the drive when he punched it in for a one yard touchdown run on the very next play (14-7).
Edison maintained the lead going into the fourth quarter. But Anthony Mariscal reminded the Edison fans that the game wasn’t over. He once again finished off a good Patriots drive by squeezing though those tight spaces. Mariscal got the handoff on a draw play, followed his blocks, and finished in the end zone for a six yard touchdown run (14-14).
The end of the game would belong to Edison wide receiver Kamron Lewis. Lewis caught a 63 yard touchdown pass from Hunter Swearingen with six minutes left in the contest. The ball was accurately thrown his way and when Kamron caught it he outran his defender to the end zone (21-14).
After some successful defensive stops for Edison, Liberty would have one final chance to tie the game. On fourth down, Jordan Love threw a deep pass to the end zone, but it was safely intercepted by Kamron Lewis to seal the deal. Edison is Central Section’s Division 1 football champions for the first time 45 years!
Edison capped off a magical season, and they deserve every bit of this championship. Nobody played selfish; it was a pure team effort. They have now added a championship to Edison’s already storied football program.
Edison will most likely be invited to compete in the California State tournament next week. As stated last week, this team can beat anyone, anywhere, anytime. The talent is second to none, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they win the State tournament.
Passing- Jordan Love: 10-28, 108 yds, 2 int’s
Rushing- Anthony Mariscal: 19 car, 67 yds, 2 TD’s
Receiving- Matthew Hubble: 5 rec, 42 yds
Passing- Hunter Swearingen: 9-18, 128 yds, 1 TD
Rushing- Khai Williams: 17 car, 38 yds, 2 TD’s
Receiving- Kamron Lewis: 2 rec, 77 yds, 1 TD
Valley Championship Results:
|Ridgeview- S. Croney: 24 car, 160 yds, 1 TD|
|Hanford- J. McDaniel: 23 car, 139 yds, 2 TD’s|
|Liberty- C. Wallace: 6 car, 58 yds, 1 TD|
|Corcoran- N. Portillo: 12-18, 198 yds, 4 TD’s|
(Scores, stats, and rankings courtesy of Maxpreps.com, and The Fresno Bee)