• warning: Parameter 2 to ed_classified_link_alter() expected to be a reference, value given in /home/soloneconomist/www/www/includes/common.inc on line 2968.
  • warning: Parameter 2 to ed_classified_link_alter() expected to be a reference, value given in /home/soloneconomist/www/www/includes/common.inc on line 2968.

Nine weeks to seal their legacy for the O-Bolts

2019 Liberty High varsity football preview
Liberty High varsity players warm up prior to their game with Waterloo East Friday, Aug. 31, 2018, at Liberty High. The game was the first varsity contest played in the new stadium, paid for by a voter-approved bond issue in 2017. The Lightning won the game, 18-6, and the frosh-soph squad won, 24-18, in overtime. (file photos by Chris Umscheid)

NORTH LIBERTY– Four years ago, 21 Iowa City West High freshmen suited up in black pants, jerseys and helmets, instead of West High green garb, and became the Liberty High Lightning, otherwise known as the Bolts.
The school hadn’t been built yet, but the young men were destined by their grade level to attend it when it was. As the first football team, they named themselves the Original Bolts, or “O-Bolts.”
Jeff Gordon has been head coach since day one. Together they’ve put together a 14-13 record over three seasons: freshman, sophomore and one year of varsity.
Assistant Coach Clint Feuerbach has also been with the O-Bolts from day one. Bruce Davis, Austin Pink, Nate Oswald, Jeremy Mimis, Joe Williams, Matt Hughes, Ronnie Hughes (the father and son duo who turned around Clear Creek Amana’s program a few years ago) and Ben Eseinbach are also assistant coaches who will help the Bolts to “Get Better Every Day.”
“The Bolts are excited for the 2019 season,” Coach Gordon said. “It is our fourth season as a program and the first featuring a senior class.”
Twenty O-Bolts dominate the Lightning’s roster this season, including returning starters Jack Ankenbauer (Second Team All-District, Academic All-District), Alec Boldt (Academic All-District), Carter Fedeler, Tate Happel (Academic All-District), Ben Houselog (Academic All-District), Ben Kruger (Second Team All-District, Academic All-District), Max Lenane (Second Team All-District), Brian Lively, Sam Nicklaus (Second Team All-District, Academic All-District), Ryan Nugent (Academic All-District), Cole Tuttle, Harrison Voigt (Academic All-District), Kaleb Williams (First Team All-District, Academic All-District), Drake Woody and Dawson Zimmerman (First Team All-District).
Williams made 116 carries for 686 yards and five touchdowns last year, and made four receptions for 86 yards and one touchdown, including a 76-yard effort. Zimmerman made nine receptions for 102 yards and one touchdown, and had 36 solo and 18 tackles assists for 54 with 11 for a loss and one solo sack.
Woody completed 38 of 98 passes for 611 yards and four touchdowns last year, and kept the ball 39 times for 118 yards. Voigt made eight solo and 2-1/2 tackle assists for 10-1/2 total last year, including two solos for a loss of yards. Tuttle had 15 solo tackles and 11 tackle assists, and made one interception in 2018. Nugent sent 13 of 15 point after kicks through the uprights, while Nicklaus made 19 solo and 1-1/2 tackle assists with four solo tackles for a loss and one solo sack.
Lively took two passes 57 yards last year, scoring one touchdown, and made 13 solo tackles, including two for a loss and two quarterback sacks. Lenane made 18 solo tackles with five for a loss, including one sack, and recovered five fumbles. Kruger made five rushing attempts for 17 yards, and made 36 solo tackles and 15-1/2 tackle assists with three solos for a loss and one solo sack. Houselog made a dozen receptions for 199 yards, and had four solo tackles and 4-1/2 tackle assists last year. Happel made a pair of solo tackles and one tackle assist last season. Fedeler made two receptions for 24 yards, and had 28 solo tackles, including three for a loss of yards. Ankenbauer carried the ball 124 times for 501 yards and seven touchdowns, took one pass four yards, and made six solo tackles, including one for a loss of yards, and one quarterback sack.
Juniors Drew Snyder, Max Tafolla (First Team All-District), and Kelby Telander are also returning starters this season. Snyder made four solo tackles last season while Tafolla had 96 carries for 415 yards and four touchdowns, and 64 solo and a dozen assisted tackles with a dozen solos for a loss and three solo sacks. Telander made six receptions for 135 yards and one touchdown (a 71-yard effort), had five solo tackles, and made one interception. Sophomores Jacob Adam and Max Beckman are also returning starters. Adam made 13 solo tackles and one interception last year.
Other returning letter winners include seniors Evan Swartzendruber, Damion Wilson, Andreas Estrada, Ben Campbell, and Greg Mitchell; and juniors Brody Fishman, Klein Thoensen and Kolton Fangman.
“The Bolts have dedicated themselves to training in the morning and competing in multiple sports in the afternoon,” Gordon said, noting 96 percent of all football players, freshman through senior, are competing in multiple sports this year.
“Our creed is specializing in competition,” he said. “This high multisport participation is in addition to the numerous other commitments our Bolts make in the academic setting, and in our fine arts programs. The strength and conditioning program has seen our athletes make significant gains in strength, speed and agility over the course of our off-season.”
The coach said the Lightning are looking to their first senior class to continue to provide leadership to the team, the program, and the school culture in general.
“We will not define our success by our record alone,” Gordon added. “But rather in the accomplishments of these seniors 20 years from now. We expect them to be leaders and role models for their families, communities and in their chosen profession. We seek to create lifelong leaders from our football program.”
The Bolts went 3-6 last season in Class 3A District 5, which includes Davenport Assumption, Central DeWitt, Clear Creek Amana (CCA), Clinton, and North Scott-Eldridge. Liberty’s only district win came in the season finale on the road in Clinton. The Bolts ran over the River Kings, 42-21.
The season opens on Friday, Aug. 30, at home, as the Little Hawks of Iowa City-City High visit the Bolts. The junior varsity game kicks off at 5 p.m. with the varsity following around 7:15 p.m. Liberty has five home games this season and host CCA in a “Bolts vs. Boats” (Clippers) gridiron battle for Homecoming on Friday, Sept. 27.

2019 Liberty High Varsity Football Schedule
Friday, Aug. 30 HOME vs. Iowa City-City High 7:15 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 6 AT Waterloo East 7:15 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 13 HOME vs. Washington (IA) 7:15 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 20 AT Mid-Prairie, Wellman 7:15 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 27 HOME vs. CCA (Homecoming) 7:15 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 4 AT North Scott, Eldridge 7:15 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 11 AT Central DeWitt 7:15 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 18 HOME vs. Davenport Assumption 7:15 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 25 HOME vs. Clinton 7:15 p.m.