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Eagle's View

CBC vs Liberty North Class 6 Football Game

Video recap by Aly Klug

COLUMBIA — Redemption feels good for Liberty North. They were crowned Class 6 State Champions Saturday on Dec. 2, taking a 38-7 win over Christian Brothers College High School (11-3).

The Cadets were looking for their third consecutive state title, but the Eagles were able to put a stop to it and bring their first football state title home.

The Cadets struck first, midway through the first quarter, with a six-play drive that finished with a 43-yard pass to Doreon Dubose. It would be the Cadets’ only points of the game.

The Eagles began the second quarter with a 20-yard pass into the end zone to senior Keelan Smith. Smith received for 133 yards on the night and wrapped up the season with 14 touchdowns.

The Eagles defense was able to stop the Cadets all night, causing three turnovers and five punts for the Cadets. In just under 90 seconds after the Eagles first points of the night, senior MicahJo Barnett was able to find the end zone, putting the Eagles up 14-7 leading into the half. Barnett was the leading rusher of the night with 121 of the Eagles 171 yards.

“This is a tremendous group of young men that continue to prove each and every week how good they are, and not only are they good at football, but they’re great human beings. And, I’m extremely proud of the effort they gave tonight,” head coach Andy Lierman said.

Early in the second half, senior Cole Young intercepted a pass by senior Cole McKey and returned it for another Eagles touchdown, making it a two possession game. Young leads the Eagles for interceptions this season with four.

Late in the third quarter, the Eagles were able to get a drive going. With three first downs on nine plays, they were able to set up junior Bleu Renfrow to nail a 52-yard field goal, extending the Eagles lead.

“We’ve been working all year for this, everyone doubted us and we just kept pushing through each week and proving people wrong and we won this game and no one can take it from us,” junior and quarterback Tillman Martin said.

The Eagles’ offense continued to power through with two more touchdowns in the fourth. On a 7-second drive, Barnett ran for a 30-yard touchdown, his 15th of the season and 32nd of his high school career.

Midway through the fourth, Tillman Martin connected once again with Smith for an 80-yard touchdown, sealing the deal for Liberty North.

The Eagles’ defense kept constant pressure on the Cadets with four quarterback sacks, adding for a loss of 15 yards as well as nine quarterback hurries. The Cadets also continued to help the Eagles’ momentum as they had 12 penalties totaling to 110 yards.

“Overall, I’m just extremely proud. I’m beyond excited for each and every single one of my guys. We put in a level of work that no one else put in and it finally paid off,” senior tight end Gabe Perry said.

Barnett, who tore his anterior cruciate ligament his junior season, came back his senior season leading the team in touchdowns and all purpose yards with 1,066.

“We’re back, it feels amazing. We don’t get it back,” he said during a press conference after the game. “You have to be all in or get all out, there is no halfway.”

While North was well ahead by late in the fourth quarter, the game was ended early by Missouri State High School Activities Association officials with 3:15 left on the clock after a scuffle developed on the field.

After a hit by Liberty North’s defense, two personal foul calls were assessed against the Cadets. There ended up being two ejections in the game, one for Liberty North and one Cadet.

“I kind of asked if we could stop it just because of the nature of what we perceived as dangerous plays going on there,” CBC coach Scott Pingel said. “I just wanted to make sure that we all got out of there without anything else happening.”

According to SB Live, there were 17 penalties for 165 yards called overall: CBC with 12 for 110 yards and Liberty North with five for 55 yards.

Tensions were running high for both teams as the Eagles had their football season ended by CBC in each of the past two seasons – in the state championship game in 2021 and in the semifinals last year. There were no customary post-game handshakes between the teams.

With the win, Liberty North finished its season 13-1.

The Cadets had 191 yards of total offense. According to SB Live, the Cadets were limited to 47 rushing yards on 35 carries – an average of 1.3 yards per – and four players combined to complete nine of 26 passes for 144 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.

“It was their night, for sure,” SB Live reported Pingel saying. “We didn’t do very much on offense and our defense was playing pretty good early on but we just ran out of gas and they handed it to us pretty good … .”

“They’re the standard,” SB Live reported Liberty North coach Andy Lierman saying of CBC. “They’re the ones that have been here the last couple of years. They’re the ones on top of the mountain and we’ve been climbing and scraping and clawing to get there and have fallen short a couple times. We’ve been in the semi the last three years and this was the fourth year in a row we made it there and we’d just kind of fallen short. Before the season these guys set a goal out and they knew what they wanted to do and they set that goal in front of them and they just kept marching towards it each and every day.”

Eagles senior linebacker Melvin Laster Jr. talked to the media after the game. He ended with eight tackles, a sack and five quarterback hits.

“It means everything. Since I’ve been playing since freshman year, we never got the chance to beat CBC, and now that we’ve finally done it, it feels like the best thing in the world,”Laster said.

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