Liberty shuts down Sunrise Mountain in second half

Liberty shuts down Sunrise Mountain in second half


Liberty shuts down Sunrise Mountain in second half


Nobody could have seen this coming at halftime.

After a first half in which Peoria Sunrise Mountain and Peoria Liberty battled to a 21-21 tie and the lead changed hands, the capacity crowd at Liberty had to expect a close finish.

But instead, Liberty used a shutdown defensive effort — four turnovers, a turnover on downs and three Sunrise Mountain punts — to fuel a 56-21 blowout win over their arch rivals and to stay undefeated in a Division III contest Friday night.

“It was a fun game with a great environment,” Liberty coach Dan Filleman said following the win.

Liberty’s star quarterback Tyler Rogers rolled up nearly 300 yards of total offense (193 yards and four touchdowns in the air and 84 yards and a score on the ground) and senior running back Kyle Harms chipped in 127 yards on 11 carries and a touchdown.

But for all the offensive fireworks, it was Liberty’s staunch defense that carried the team in the second half.

Alex Smith had the highlight play with his third quarter 55-yard interception return for a touchdown that gave Liberty (5-0) a commanding 42-21 lead. But the defense also got an interception from Alex Ochoa and a fumble recovery to spark the blowout.

Smith reveled in the moment following his interception.

“(The interception) felt great,” said Smith. We wanted to come out and stick it to to them. That was one of many big plays that turned the game in our favor.”

Sunrise Mountain (4-1) went punch-for-punch with Liberty in the first half, taking a 21-14 lead on Corey Brown’s second touchdown of the night. Elroy Masters also had a touchdown for Sunrise Mountain on a 64-yard scoring strike from Dylan Touvell.

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