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Liberty North Rolls to Title

By 810 Varsity, 12/03/23, 9:30AM CST


Eagles avenge CBC exits with 38-7 blowout to win first championship

Liberty North's MicahJo Barnet rushed for 120 yards in the Eagles 38-7 win over CBC. (Photo: David Smith)

Liberty North won the first football state title in school history on Saturday night in Columbia ... in a game that was halted a bit early. 

The Eagles beat Christian Brothers College 38-7 in the Missouri Class 6 Show-Me Bowl at chilly, drizzly Faurot Field on the University of Missouri campus.

Christian Brothers College had ended the Eagles’ season the past two years in a row, so tensions were high throughout the game.

“It was incredible,” Liberty North coach Andy Lierman said. “Any time you can beat a team that has ended your season the last couple of years, that made it even sweeter. I’m happier for the kids that go play for it and complete the mission.”
And what a game it was, especially for Liberty North. 

The Cadets held the lead entering the second quarter thanks to Doreon Dubose’s 43 yard touchdown pass from Cole McKey. But the Eagles were about to get rolling. 

Tillman Martin hit Keelan Smith for a 20-yard touchdown pass, MicahJo Barnett rushed for a 3-yard touchdown and Liberty North led 14-7 at halftime. In the third quarter, Cole Young scored on a 40-yard return for a pick-six, and it was 21-7 Eagles. 

The Liberty North defense held the Cadets to 47 rushing yards and just 191 yards overall.

A Missouri state championship record 52-yard field goal by Bleu Renfrow, Barnett’s second touchdown and Martin’s second TD pass to Smith — this one covering 80 yards — put the finishing touches on Liberty North’s milestone victory. 

The game was ended early by Missouri State High School Activities Association officials. Play was halted with 3 minutes, 15 seconds remaining when a scuffle developed on the field. 

After a hit by Liberty North’s defense, two personal foul calls were assessed against the Cadets and the decision was subsequently made to end the game. The teams did not shake hands afterward, as is customary in post-game tradition.

Asked why the game was called, CBC coach Scott Pingel said via Gateway Sports Venue (@GSV_STL on X): “I kind of asked if we could stop it because of the nature of what we perceived as dangerous play going on there. I just wanted to make sure we got out of there without anything else happening.”

Lierman said he’s never been in a game that ended early.

“Our kids played lights out and we won, that is all I’m worried about,” he said. 

The donnybrook came a little more than a minute after an 80-yard touchdown pass from Tillman Martin to Keelan Smith. The Nebraska commit pointed to his ring finger after dropping the ball in the end zone with 4:35 to play.

That was 38 unanswered points for the Eagles, who were 13-1 this year and won its last 13 games.

Liberty North’s defense held CBC well below the 38-points-per-game average and they finished with 191 yards of total offense. The CBC rushing attack had 35 carries for 47 yards. 

Four different players threw a pass for CBC, which started Cole McKey after normal starter Jason Wiley was injured. McKey was the starter last year against Lee’s Summit North, but he finished 7 for 20 for 87 yards and two interceptions.

Later in the game, he was hit hard by Liberty North’s Jayshawn Ross and had to exit. Ross was called for targeting and was thrown out with 7:30 to play.

Liberty North’s secondary held Ohio State pledge Jeremiah McClellan to four catches for 52 yards and he didn’t score in the game. Doreon Dubose caught a 43-yard score for CBC (11-3) from McKey with 1:37 left in the first quarter.

From there, it was all Liberty North.

“We talked all week about not falling in the trap,” Lierman said of falling behind and not recovering. “The last couple of times against them they delivered a punch and we looked around at each other. In the last couple of years, we have learned from adversity. We haven’t lost a lot so we try to put them in adversity and they have grown.”

Smith finished with four catches for 133 yards and the two touchdowns for Liberty North. Barnett ran for 120 yards on 20 carries, and Martin was 10 for 20 for 180 yards. 

Those two helped the team tie and then take the lead in the second quarter. Smith had a 20-yard touchdown catch from Martin on the first play of the second quarter. 

Ross came up with a big play to help give the Eagles the lead. He blocked a punt and the Eagle took over at the 6-yard line. Two carries from Barnett followed, the latter was a 3-yard score with 10:33 to play.

The Eagles took a 14-7 lead into the break and then got a pair of scores in the third quarter.

Defensive back Cole Young had a 40-yard interception return for a score with 11:21 left in the third to push the lead to 21-7. 

Liberty North’s secondary held Ohio State pledge Jeremiah McClellan to four catches for 52 yards. 

Liberty North finished its season 13-1, CBC 11-3. 

Kearney also won a state championship Saturday in Columbia, beating Hillsboro 68-28 for the Class 4 title.

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