Liberty’s Germie Bernard made a one-handed drawback successful stride for a 72-yard touchdown, returned a punt for a 65-yard TD, and scrambled astir the close for a 2-point conversion.
Teammate Jayden Maiava passed for 218 yards and 3 touchdowns and rushed for a 35-yard score.
All that occurred Friday successful the archetypal half.
That was each Liberty needed to asseverate power and nonstop a connection entering the precocious schoolhouse shot playoffs with a 49-7 triumph astatine Desert Pines that the Patriots person each volition of defending their 2019 authorities title.
Liberty (8-1, 4-0) clinched the No. 1 effect successful the Class 5A Mountain League.
“We stressed each week that we wanted to triumph this crippled successful dominating manner and to triumph a part title and commencement getting acceptable for the playoffs,” Liberty manager Rich Muraco said. “I felt similar this was our champion crippled we’ve played each year. We’re peaking astatine the close time.”
The Patriots took a 42-0 pb with 1:36 near successful the 2nd quarter, prompting the referee to instantly telephone for a moving timepiece alternatively than hold until the 2nd half.
Liberty played with a consciousness of urgency arsenic its eyes Bishop Gorman successful a imaginable playoff showdown.
As for Desert Pines, the Jaguars (5-3, 2-2) are the 3rd effect successful the Mountain.
“We’ve got 7 seniors; the remainder of the squad are freshmen and sophomores,” Desert Pines manager Tico Rodriguez said. “This is simply a defending authorities champion. We would’ve had to play a cleanable crippled to vie with them, and we didn’t and those are the results.”
Desert Pines had fewer answers for Maiava, who completed 13 0f 20 passes for 263 yards and 4 touchdowns. COVID-19 sidelined Maiava earlier successful the season, but the UNLV perpetrate is playing his champion football.
“It felt weird to beryllium sitting successful the stands and looking astatine the tract not being capable to play retired there,” Maiava said. “It was heartbreaking astatine first, but I got done it.”
Bernard, who has committed to Washington, made the night’s apical drawback and showed his versatility adjacent beyond the punt instrumentality and 2-point conversion. He played backmost successful mop-up duty, completing 4 of 6 passes for 32 yards.
“He’s the champion subordinate successful the state, successful my opinion,” Muraco said. “He tin beryllium an all-state information if helium wanted to be. He tin beryllium a moving back, quarterback, receiver, immoderate helium wants to be.”