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Bolts sink the Boats

Liberty High outlasts CCA, 28-21
Liberty High’s Tate Happel, a senior, leads the varsity Lightning onto the field Friday, Sept. 27, at home against Clear Creek Amana’s Clippers in Class 3A District 5 competition on Homecoming night. The “Bolts” outlasted the “Boats” by one touchdown, winning 28-21 to improve to 4-1 while dropping the Creek Boys to 3-2. (photo by Chris Umscheid)

NORTH LIBERTY– Last year the Clear Creek Amana (CCA) Clippers and Liberty High School’s Lightning clashed for the first time in Class 3A varsity football with the “Boats” taking a lopsided 37-7 win for CCA’s 2018 Homecoming Game. On Friday, Sept. 27, the “Bolts” returned the favor in a much closer game for their 2019 Homecoming as The Lightning zapped the Clippers 28-21 in the first week of District 5 competition.
Liberty received the opening kick-off, but after three plays fumbled the ball, which was recovered by CCA. Two plays later, the Clippers’ Alex Figueroa was sailing over the goal line for a touchdown. J.J. Denny booted the extra point, and the “Boats” had a quick 7-0 lead. As expected, the Bolts equalized soon after as Kaleb Williams bolted downfield to score. Ryan Nugent’s kick was good, and the scoreboard showed a 7-7 tie.
CCA’s Ryan Navara connected with Sam Stevens in the end zone for the Clippers’ second touchdown, and Denny’s kick made it 14-7 for the Creek Boys. But, with 3:01 left in the first half, Jack Ankenbauer leapt one yard to score for the Lightning. Williams had slid-into the end zone feet first, thinking he’d scored, but the referees decided he’d instead come up short, leading to a first-and-goal, and setting the table for Ankenbauer. Another good kick from Nugent, and the game was again tied, this time at 14-all.
The Creek Boys wasted no time on their next drive, which culminated in Navara finding Harrison Rosenberg in the end zone for a 20-14 lead. Nugent put up his third PAT kick and CCA led 21-14 with 19.2 seconds remaining. The Bolts’ Drake Woody launched two long passes in those final seconds of the half, but ran out of time as the period ended with the Clippers enjoying the lead.
Liberty’s defense shifted into high gear in the third quarter as the Clippers received the kick-off to open the second half, but quickly had their drive stopped. Ankenbauer scampered one yard on the Bolts’ ensuing drive to close the gap to one point with Liberty trailing 21-20. The Lightning failed to convert on a two-point play, which would’ve given them a one-point lead. The Bolts built onto that lead as they intercepted a Navara pass followed soon after by Woody connecting with Ben Houselog for a Liberty touchdown, and a 26-21 advantage. The Lightning attempted another two-point play, converted on it, and took the 28-21 lead.
Offensively, the Clippers were unable to get anything going in the second half with Navara getting picked off again, this time by Greg Mitchell with 5:11 left to play. The Bolts ended the game at CCA’s two-yard line, in position to score again, but as the final seconds ticked down, Woody took a knee to end the game.
Woody completed six of 12 passes for 61 yards and one touchdown while Navara completed 15 of 22 for 156 yards and two touchdowns. He was intercepted twice by the Lighting.
Liberty’s Max Tafolla led their ground war with 146 yards on 33 carries, with Williams grinding out 112 yards on 10 carries with one touchdown. Figueroa made 11 carries for 70 yards and one score for the Creek Boys with Cole Pfister producing 34 yards on a dozen carries.
Denny totaled nine tackles for the Creek (five solo, and eight assisted) with eight total (five solo and six assisted) for Liberty’s Dawson Zimmerman.
The Bolts improved to 4-1 overall and 1-0 in Class 3A District 5 while the “Boats” dipped to 3-2 and 0-1.
Liberty travels to North Scott High School in Eldridge on Friday, Oct. 4. The Lancers are also 4-1/1-0 this season.
Clear Creek Amana returns home to face winless Clinton (0-5/0-1).

Liberty High 28, Clear Creek Amana 21
Passing — Drake Woody (Liberty) 6-12-61-1. Ryan Navara (CCA) 15-22-156-2-2.
Receiving — Ben Houselog (Liberty) 6-61-1, Harrison Rosenberg (CCA) 6-52-1, Sam Stevens (CCA) 3-47-1, TJ Bollers (CCA) 3-25, Gabe Jenn (CCA) 1-20, Brock Reade (CCA) 1-12, Cole Pfister (CCA) 1-0.
Rushing — Max Tafolla (Liberty) 33-146, Kaleb Williams (Liberty) 10-112-1, Alex Figueroa (CCA) 11-70-1. Pfister (CCA) 12-34, Jack Ankenbauer (Liberty) 6-25-2, Navara (CCA) 5-23, Gage Freeman (CCA) 4-2.
Tackles (solo, assists, total, for loss, sacks) — J.J. Denny (CCA) 5-8-9.0-0-0, Dawson Zimmerman (Liberty) 5-6-8.0-0-0, Williams (Liberty) 3-7-6.5-0-0, Ankenbauer (Liberty) 5-3-6.5-0-0, Luke Meyer (Liberty) 5-2-6.0-0-0, Darius Willis-Newell (Liberty) 4-4-6.0-0-0, Grant Jensen (CCA) 2-8-6.0-0-0, Kaden Gisleson (CCA) 5-1-5.5-0-0, Carter Fedeler (Liberty) 4-2-5.0-1-0, Brian Lively (Liberty) 3-2-4.0-3-0, Sam Stevens (CCA) 3-2-4.0-0-0, Joey Lepire (CCA) 2-3-3.5-1-0, Bollers (CCA) 2-3-3.5-0-0, Nate Beckman (CCA) 1-5-3.5-0-0, Arron Feinberg (CCA) 1-4-3.0-0-0, Jacob Curtin (CCA) 2-1-2.5-0-0, Max Lenane (Liberty) 1-3-2.5-0-0, Zane Cunningham (CCA) 1-3-2.5-0-0, Sam Noska (CCA) 1-3-2.5-0-0, Henry Lucy (Liberty) 2-0-2.0-0-0, Navara (CCA) 2-0-2.0-0-0, T.J. Hansen (CCA) 1-2-2.0-0-0, Jacob Adam (Liberty) 1-0-1.0-0-0, Tafolla (Liberty) 1-0-1.0-0-0, Kelby Telander (Liberty) 1-0-1.0-0-0, Figueroa (CCA) 1-0-1.0-0-0, Damion Wilson (Liberty) 0-1-0.5-0-0, Eric Zierke (CCA) 0-1-0.5.
Interceptions — Greg Mitchell (Liberty) 1-0, Willis-Newell (Liberty) 1-0.
Fumble recoveries — Navara (CCA) 1-0.
PAT kicks — Denny (CCA) 3-3, Ryan Nugent (Liberty) 2-2.
Kick Offs — Harrison Cory (CCA) 4-183.
Kick off returns — Pfister (CCA) 4-30, Williams (Liberty) 1-12, Telander (Liberty) 1-9.
Punting — Cunningham (CCA) 3-72.
Punt returns — Freeman (CCA) 1-2, Gisleson (CCA) 1-1.