The scoring machine at Peoria Liberty continues to put up big numbers.
Coming into Friday’s game, Liberty averaged 58.3 points per game and just surpassed that against host Peoria. With scoring contributions coming from the offense, defense and special teams, Liberty rolled to a 59-25 victory over Peoria in a Division III game.
Led by senior quarterback Tyler Rogers, the Liberty offense accumulated 459 yards of total offense, and scored the first five times they touched the ball.
That would include three touchdown passes from Rogers, who went 10-for-18 for 291 yards and five touchdowns on the night, a 79-yard punt return for a score by senior Brandon Murphy, and a safety when Peoria center Dallas Pinick snapped the ball out of the end zone from punt formation.
At the time of the safety, Liberty was out to a 30-7 lead with 10:38 remaining in the first half.
“I thought we were sloppy at times, and need to take better control,” Liberty coach Dan Filerman said. “We can’t rely on the ‘big play’ all the time. For this coming week, we need to be more focused in practice and clean up some things.”
Rogers entered the contest with an average of 225 yards through the air in Liberty’s first three games. Against Peoria (1-3), he connected on touchdown strikes of 46, 84, 19, 6 and 82 yards, and also scored on a 39-yard run with 8:19 left in the game.
As well, Liberty added points on Murphy’s coast-to-coast punt return and a 32-yard return for a touchdown by sophomore defensive back Brock Murphy on an intercepted pass early in the fourth quarter.
Murphy’s punt return, a key play in the game, came on the first play of the second quarter, broke any momentum Peoria may have had. The score pushed Liberty (4-0) to a 24-7 lead at the time.
“The punt return killed us,” Peoria coach Will Babb said. “They just capitalized on that and when you’re playing a team as good as Liberty, you can’t have a breakdown like we had.”
In additional to his productive passing night, Rogers also paced Liberty in rushing with 81 yards on nine carries. Sophomore Connor Mascod added 66 yards on 11 carries for Liberty.
Peoria junior quarterback Dillon Gragnano finished 18 for 27 passing on the night for 226 yards and two scores. On the ground, junior Josh Castro rushed for 119 yards on 28 carries.