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Go West: Liberty Center senior runs for 3 TDs in win over Woodward

09/08/2017, 10:00pm EDT
By By STEVE JUNGA BLADE SPORTS WRITER

Tigers celebrate 20th anniversary of state championship team


Liberty Center's Christian Kahle, left, and North West celebrate after West scored one of his three touchdowns during Friday's win over Woodward. BLADE/KURT STEISS

LIBERTY CENTER — On a Friday night when Liberty Center honored the 20th anniversary of its only state football championship, the current Tigers gave their celebrated 1997 predecessors a fitting salute by rolling to a 38-6 nonleague victory over visiting Woodward at Tiger Stadium.

Senior running back North West paced the Tigers’ offense, rushing 13 times for 124 yards, including touchdown runs of 4, 13, and 14 yards. Caleb Carpenter ran 21 times for 107 yards, and added a one-yard scoring run.

“We’re glad we were able to win this game with a lot of these [1997] guys back here,” said first-year Tigers coach Casey Mohler. “They set the standard for this school, and for what football should be.

“I don’t know that we played as well as what they did, but it was good to get a win and honor these guys for what they accomplished.”

IN PICTURES: Liberty Center 38, Woodward 6

Mohler, a former Tigers player, graduated the spring before LC’s state championship season.

Liberty Center (3-0), the preseason favorite to win the Northwest Ohio Athletic League title, piled up a 326-175 advantage in total offense on the Polar Bears, using ball control to dominate.

In the opening half, Liberty Center held a commanding edge of 17:20 to 6:40 in time of possession, running 47 plays from scrimmage to 19 for Woodward (0-3) while building a 24-6 lead.

“It starts up front on both sides of the ball,” Mohler said of his team’s control of the game. “Defensively, we did a nice job of containing them early on, and offensively we did enough to move the chains and hang onto the ball.

“Later on in the second quarter we got a little sloppy, but we were still able to control the line of scrimmage. Our backs did a nice job of running the ball hard and moving the chains. But we were a little sloppy passing the ball. We want to clean that up. We feel we can get a little better at that.”

On the game’s first possession, the Tigers marched 62 yards on 10 plays with quarterback Jarrett Krugh capping the drive on an eight-yard touchdown pass to Conner Sonnenberg on a fourth-and-goal play 4:03 into the game.

After a Woodward punt, Liberty Center moved 67 yards on nine plays for another score, this one on a four-yard run by West as the Tigers took a 13-0 lead with 2:15 left in the first quarter.

Liberty Center then used nine plays to go 51 yards. This time, West’s 26-yard run set up Carpenter’s one-yard TD plunge. Krugh’s conversion pass to West made it 21-0 with 9:11 left in the half.

“The reason we were able to dominate was our offensive line,” West said. “They were amazing, and our defensive line was also good.

“Long drives are just [a product of] us running every day. You have to be able to finish things and, on our offensive line, every single guy is conditioned and ready to go. They know what to do, and they get it done.”

Woodward’s only score came on the first play following the ensuing kickoff, when quarterback Dominique McClain hit a wide-open Demetrius Barry on a 69-yard TD pass to get the Polar Bears within 21-6.

The Tigers had one more lengthy scoring drive before halftime, using nine plays to move 50 yards and set up Orry Killam’s 24-yard field goal with three seconds left in the half, giving LC a 24-6 lead.

The Tigers added West’s 13 and 14-yard TD runs in the third quarter.

“It was a game where you were going to get a few possessions, and you’ve got to capitalize when you get them,” Woodward coach Rob Garber said. “In the first half, we were getting some good push up front, but we’re just a young team with a new quarterback trying to feel our way through it.

“We’ll be all right. I think we’ve got some great things in store. Liberty Center did everything well. They’re a heck of a team.”

Burrow Alexander rushed 16 times for 51 yards for Woodward.

Contact Steve Junga at sjunga@theblade.com419-724-6461, or on Twitter @JungaBlade.

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Tag(s): High School  Liberty Center  Woodward  Steve Junga