Girard offense gets hot, beats Liberty
By JACOB RUFFO
When it rained it poured for Girard’s offense.
A hot stretch for the Indians’ offense spanning the end of the second quarter and deep into the third allowed them to take the lead decisively in 33-15 win against Liberty Friday night.
Girard outscored Liberty 26-7 during said stretch. Before this run, the score was 9-7 in favor of Liberty. However, this run of offense from Girard turned the game completely around.
They had five plays of over 20 yards in that run. This includes a 48-yard touchdown run from Indians quarterback Mark Waid and a 57-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Backus. The touchdown run included Waid stiff-arming a defensive lineman to the ground in the backfield and hurdling a member of the Liberty secondary.
“I was worried he was going to get tired and fall over before he made it to the goal line,” Girard coach Pat Pearson joked. “I couldn’t be prouder of the kid. He’s so unselfish. I’ve never seen a sophomore with that kind of poise. He’s really become a leader for this team. He really gave it all for these seniors tonight.”
Both offenses ran primarily through the quarterbacks, as both Waid and Liberty quarterback Dra Rushton were the leading rushers and passers for their respective teams. Waid finished with 159 rushing yards on 20 carries with three touchdowns and threw for 100 yards and a TD. Rushton ran 24 times for 166 and two touchdowns, including one from 50 yards out. He also passed 41 yards.
“We just stuck to our gameplan,” Waid said. “You know, I’ve been running the ball a lot this season. Today, our offensive line was opening holes a car could drive through. I would say it was our most complete game of the season.”
The Indians defense forced four fumbles, recovering three of them. Cornerback Terrance Davis also had an interception. Running back Kenny Walters had 90 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries.
“Our kids were unselfish and did whatever it took for us to come out on top tonight,” Pearson said. “The defense played out of their minds. We have a young defense. Our staff does an outstanding job and tonight it showed.””
The first quarter and most of the second was mostly controlled by Liberty. They scored on the first possession of the game, and also forced a safety. However, the Leopards offense was not there in the second half.
“We told the guys to just stay the course. Do what you were coached to do and make plays,” Allen said. “They had the momentum coming out of halftime and then they scored right on the opening drive right out of the break which really took the wind out of our sails. It was really hard for us to climb back into the game.”
Aside from specifically running the ball with Rushton, the Liberty offense could not do much. Running back Jalen McKinney carried the ball 17 times for 46 yards and fumbled twice. Rushton was sacked three times.
“In some spots we did very well,” Allen said. “In other spots we let them disrupt plays and had poor execution.”
Quaishon Campbell, a Liberty defensive back, was penalized and ejected after a shoving match broke out in the final minutes of the game. He was the only player penalized or ejected.
“It’s Girard-Liberty. Both sides are always playing for a lot. Emotions are high,” Pearson said. “I’m just happy it got broken up before anything really bad happened.”