Raymore-Peculiar’s pregame entrance to Panther Stadium was an eye-catching one.
By ZACHARY SPAIN
Special to The Star
But the buzz it created was short-lived.
While the Panthers debuted their black-and-gold tinged camouflage jerseys for their 2013 home opener to excitement on the field and in the stands, it took just one play from scrimmage before the attention shifted to Liberty’s big-play offense in the Blue Jays’ 47-14 win Friday.
Using a play-action set that — according to Liberty coach Chad Frigon — was rehearsed at least a dozen times in practice, Blue Jays quarterback A.J. Cambric faked the handoff, then hit receiver Jackson Redmond in stride 25 yards down the middle on the game’s first play. Redmond ran untouched for an 80-yard touchdown.
“To come out and get it that quick was great for us,” Frigon said.
That set the tone for a much-anticipated Suburban Conference Gold and Class 6A, District 4 early-season clash.
And it was just the beginning.
By midway through the second quarter, Liberty, 2-0, had a 28-0 lead behind the play-action fakes, Cambric’s arm and a pair of Devon Bryant touchdowns — one rushing and another on a halfback pass.
Bryant put Liberty ahead 14-0 midway through the first quarter when he took a pitch outside and broke down the right sideline for 65 yards.
Then he added a passing touchdown when the Panthers’ defense pursued him as he took a pitch to the right before lofting a deep pass to uncovered receiver Brady Newland for a 40-yard score with 7:51 left in the half.
In between, Cambric connected with Redmond on fourth and goal from the 4 for a touchdown, capping a 5-plus-minute, 11-play drive that included a third-and-19 conversion in which the right-handed Cambric scrambled left, threw against his body and connected with Newland on a 39-yard completion.
The Blue Jays didn’t risk a repeat of last season, when they gave up a 21-point lead in losing to Ray-Pec.
“We didn’t want that to happen again, so we kept pounding, kept going,” said Cambric, who was six for 13 for 197 yards and three touchdowns in the first half.
Cambric capped the half — and his night, since he didn’t return to the game after halftime — with a 56-yard slant over the middle to Newland as the Blue Jays took a 35-7 lead in the final minute of the half.
Meanwhile, the Blue Jays defense held Ray-Pec, 1-1, to fewer than 175 yards of offense a week after the Panthers scored 62 points against Belton.
“We weren’t prepared physically,” Ray-Pec coach Tom Kruse said. “Liberty really took it to us.”