Liberty took advantage of an unfathomable amount of Doherty miscues to pound the host Spartans 48-22 in what was the first game of the season for both teams.
Thursday’s nightmare began almost immediately for 5A Doherty when quarterback Brandon Supernaw fumbled on the Spartans’ first drive.
Liberty immediately capitalized with a 16-play, 68-yard touchdown drive, capped by running back Austin Buhl. A familiar trend would then follow.
Doherty would fumble five times and turn the ball over on downs on its first six offensive possessions and turned the ball over nine times total. The 4A Lancers were more than happy to run the ball down the field.
“We have five returning starters on the offensive line and we feel like we have one of the best lines in the city,” Liberty coach Jaron Cohen said. “In June camp we thought running back was up for grabs so we moved Shane Walker to quarterback. Coach Shawn Flynn was right and he does a great job running our offense.”
The Lancers rushed for 324 yards behind a dominant line. The duo of Liberty running backs was mostly unstoppable.
“The big guys did their part and we respect them for that; we couldn’t have done anything without them,” said Buhl, who rushed for 139 yards and three scores. “When the defense is getting turnovers like that it really pumps up the offense.”
Just when Doherty had seen its fill of Buhl powering the ball down the middle, Liberty changed pace and put Dave Brown in to bust runs to the outside. Receiver Dylan Flynn added two touchdown receptions from Walker and everything was working to perfection.
“We’ve been building this offense for a few years now, and as you can see it’s pretty explosive,” said Brown, who rushed for 126 yards and a touchdown.
The bright spot for Doherty was junior running back Zach Young. He rushed for 113 yards and a touchdown, and caught a 61-yard touchdown pass from Brandon Supernaw.
Doherty’s problem wasn’t moving the ball, it was holding onto it.
“I don’t know how it’s possible to have seven fumbles in a game,” Doherty coach David Joyce said.