The third quarter concluded late Friday at Preston Field, and the Liberty Blue Jays walked toward the opposite end of the field in familiar territory — with a lead.
For the fifth time this fall, Liberty opened the final quarter trying to turn a late advantage into a victory.
For the first time this fall, the Blue Jays made it stick.
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Liberty defeated Park Hill South 30-14 on Friday for its first win of the season.
“It’s never felt so good,” junior linebacker Avery Stawicki said in a phone interview after the game.
Liberty sophomore Robert Rawie had yet another productive night with 137 rushing yards and two touchdowns — one on the ground and one receiving.
But as Park Hill South, 0-7, loaded the box in an attempt to slow Rawie, Liberty turned to its passing game. Sophomore quarterback Ryan Potts threw for 212 yards and three touchdowns.
“Teams are keying in on Robert, so the play-action is wide open,” Potts said. “I think it’s going to be like that the rest of the season.”
Kearney 36, Platte County 0
In a year in which Kearney returned only three defensive starters, coach Greg Jones said he expected the unit to be every bit as good as it was in 2014, when the Bulldogs reached the Missouri Class 4 semifinals.
“The way we play — it’s ingrained in them all the way from eighth or ninth grade,” he said. “Like we tell them, you have to have that swagger to play defense. I think they all have a little bit of that in them.”
A lot of it, actually.
Kearney shut out Platte County 36-0 on Friday for its fourth straight win. The Bulldogs have allowed only 13 points over the last three weeks.
The offense is rolling, too. Marcus Harris ran for three touchdowns, giving him 15 for the season. Two came before halftime, when Kearney, 6-1, built a 27-0 lead.
Dawson Goepferich kicked a career-long 52-yard field goal.
Platte County fell to 5-2.
Truman 62, Marshall 21
The lights gleamed on the east side of Truman High School on Friday, where an estimated 3,500 fans packed the newly-installed metal bleachers. Some squeezed into open space along a nearby hill, pointing their lawn chairs toward the football field.
The standing-room-only crowd formed an unfamiliar scene, at least for Truman, but it was a worthy occasion.
Truman played its first true home game in school history Friday, and the Patriots capped a celebratory evening with a 62-21 win against Marshall.
Truman opened in 1964.
The Patriots improved to 6-1.
Staley 28, Mill Valley 21
With a rare Missouri-Kansas battle, both Staley and Mill Valley wanted to test themselves against some of the city’s best.
Staley outlasted the Jaguars, 28-21 in a back-and-forth game featuring many standouts. One of them was Staley’s Julian Ross, who carried the ball 27 times for 158 yards.
“Our whole O-line took care of it and did great things and put me in a great position,” Ross said. “I did what I could do, and they did the work.”
Ross also showed off his arm early, with a halfback pass for a touchdown to Roderick Criss. Still, Ross’ running ability was the deciding factor.
“He finished his runs awfully hard tonight,” Staley coach Fred Bouchard said. “At the end of each run he was delivering.”
Instead of replying with their potent rushing attack, Mill Valley, which suffered its first loss in five games, took to the air most of the night with Logan Koch working the ball down the field. He found Luke Krull, a 6-foot-7 target, for two touchdowns.
The combination of Krull and Christian Jegen catching passes kept Mill Valley within striking distance. Jegen ended up with a game-high 129 yards, one touchdown and a couple of diving catches near the sideline.
“He makes a lot of plays that other players have trouble doing,” Mill Valley coach Joel Applebee said.
Staley, though, was too much. Joe Eller, Staley’s fullback, scampered for two touchdowns as the offensive line controlled the the tempo.
Staley, 6-1, was in control, thanks to Eller and Ross. The backfield combined for more than 260 yards rushing.
“Whenever your guys are running well, you have to give those guys up front a lot of credit,” Bouchard said.
Staley hopes to build on the momentum.
“It brings a big boost, moving forward,” Ross said. “We know what we can do. We just have to show everyone else. Now we’re just ready to take it one week at a time.”
| Ryan McCarthy, Special to The Star