It took the Matadors one quick play after halftime to reverse that feeling. Up by six in the third quarter, Miramonte junior quarterback Ross Anderson connected with junior receiver Jack Pietrykowski for a 70-yard touchdown. The Matadors rolled after that point, beating Liberty 33-0.
“That killed us a lot,” senior linebacker Tony Webb said of the big TD pass. “Their momentum increased and ours decreased.”
The Lions (2-2) turned the ball over five times and were unable to get a running game going, despite good blocking from the offensive line. The leading Liberty rusher on the night was senior halfback Shawn Vasquez, with 41 yards. Head coach Nate Smith was able to take solace in the fact that the Lions have a bye week coming up to make some adjustments.
“You’re never going to beat a team like Miramonte turning the ball over five times,” Smith said. “That creates an ultimate frustration because you know you can do things against their defense. I don’t think their defense really shut us down tonight so much as we shut ourselves down.”
Liberty had plenty of opportunities to take control of the game, especially in the first half. The Lions extended their first drive by getting 21 yards on a fake punt play, but they ended up fumbling the ball, giving it back to the Matadors (4-0). Liberty’s next drive was stopped on a failed fourth down conversion just outside of the red zone.
Miramonte’s Anderson scored with just over a minute and a half left in the first half on a QB sneak. The Matadors went for two, but failed, giving the Lions a chance to take the lead before halftime.
Liberty was able to mount a drive deep into Miramonte territory shortly before halftime. Senior receiver Jordan Peralta caught a pass from senior quarterback Devyn Parsons, but he was upended by Matador linebacker Conner Kosturos, coughing up the ball.
“We’re talented enough to do better and we showed that all night — we just didn’t finish drives,” Smith said.
Parsons, like many of his teammates, had a solid first half, but he was intercepted twice in the second half. He left the game briefly in the third quarter with a shoulder injury suffered on a defensive play, returning in the fourth quarter. Smith said it wouldn’t be a problem after this game.
Miramonte put another touchdown on the board on the first play of the third quarter, the 70-yard strike. A field goal and a touchdown made it 23-0 going into the final frame. Matador senior kicker Anthony Piganelli booted a 47-yard field goal that went over the crossbar with plenty of room to spare, putting his team ahead 26-0. One more Miramonte touchdown run by John Coupin gave his team the 33-0 lead.
After its bye week, Liberty will travel to Oakland to face Fremont High on Oct. 23 at 3:30 p.m. The Lions' junior varsity team faced a similar fate, losing 46-7 on Friday.