The team played solid defense in the fourth quarter.
By SAL MARINO
LIBERTY -- The McDonald High football team won its first game of the season Friday by playing solid defense in the fourth quarter to hold off Liberty, 12-6.
"The kids came ready to play tonight," McDonald coach Dan Williams said. "We worked hard all week to prepare, like we do each week for every game. This is beginning to be a good rivalry."
The teams played on even terms in the second half until the fourth quarter, which was dominated by Liberty (1-2).
The Leopards, starting on their own 20, drove nine plays to McDonald's 4-yard line. On first down and goal, Liberty fumbled the ball out of the end zone to stop the threat.
McDonald (1-2) punted on its next possession, with Liberty taking over at its own 32. Nine plays later, the Leopards were at McDonald's 10-yard line, but another fumble pushed the ball back to the 17. Then, on fourth and 17, an incomplete pass stalled the drive with 56 seconds remaining in the game.
Early lead: Liberty took the early lead in the first quarter when Chris Overton recovered a fumble on McDonald's 45-yard line. Three plays later, Jaris Williams, who ran 20 times for 114 yards, scored on a 10-yard run. The conversion pass failed.
McDonald came right back on a Liberty fumble. The Blue Devils drove 33 yards in six plays, with Jason Joynes, who ran 12 times for 101 yards, scoring on a 3-yard run. When the kick failed, the teams were tied 6-6.
In the second quarter, the Blue Devils drove 88 yards in 11 plays, consuming 5 minutes, 15 seconds and culminating when Joynes passed to Jeff Ashton for a 16-yard touchdown.
On their scoring drive, the Blue Devils faked a punt on fourth and 2, with Stanley Tyler running 24 yards for a first down.
"McDonald played hard and we didn't," Liberty coach Jeff Whittaker said. "We didn't play well in the first half. We did have some injuries in the first half. We just didn't get it done."
Whittaker was speaking of Liberty starting quarterback Paul Martin, who went down in the first half and didn't return. He was replaced by Joe Banner.
McDonald outgained Liberty on the ground in the first half 180-86. At game's end, McDonald had 208 yards on the ground, while Liberty totaled 202.
While McDonald outgained Liberty 228-219 in total yards, the Leopards dominated time of possession, 31:39-16:21.
Newton Falls 25, Grand Valley: NEWTON FALLS -- Marty Hutchinson had 23 carries for 171 yards and three touchdowns to help Newton Falls overcome an early safety to beat Grand Valley (2-1).
Quarterback Tom Nemet had six carries for 73 yards and Nick Smith added 15 carries for 72 yards for the Tigers (2-1).
LaBrae 30, Jefferson 14: Details of this game were not reported.