Return to Sports
by Danny Carpenter
(September 12, 1998) Who says preparation doesn't win in high school football?
Webster County coach A.J. Rogers is a believer.
His Highlanders took away Liberty's passing combo of David Patterson and John See and held the Mountaineers to 23 yards total offense in the first half en route to a 27-14 victory at Hite Field on Friday.
"I tip my hat to Webster County," said Liberty coach Roger Gorby. "They were very well prepared for us."
It was evident as the Highlanders (2-1) outgained Liberty (2-1) by 177 yards in the first half.
After going three and out on its first possession, Webster took advantage of the first of three Liberty turnovers.
The Highlanders recovered a fumble at the Liberty 25 and scored nine plays later on a 6-yard counter run by John Bird.
Matt Hayhurst finished off Webster's second score with 9:47 left in the second on a 1-yard run.
Liberty was ineffective on offense again and gave the ball back to Webster.
The Highlanders marched to the Mountaineers' 27 before turning the ball over on downs.
Then disaster struck again for Liberty.
Patterson, who was under constant pressure all night, was hit just as he released and the ball fell in the hands of Webster's Jason Knight, who returned it to Liberty's 12.
Three plays later, Bird again scored on a 15-yard counter.
"I knew they were going to key on Matt Hayhurst," Rogers said. "Everywhere he went they were loading up on him.
"We knew we could run some counters and traps with John Bird and he did a heck of a job."
After Liberty scored on an Adam Matheny run early in the fourth, Bird put the game out of reach with a 76-yard touchdown return on the ensuing kick.
Patterson and See were able to connect on a 78-yard touchdown midway through the fourth. It was See's first catch of the game.
"We were up here for (Liberty's) game against Grafton and knew what See could do," Rogers said. "We put double coverage on him to help out our rush.
"Then we were blitzing every play. We knew if we could get some pressure on them, we could limit their air show."
On the other side of the field, Gorby believed his team thought "this was going to be an easy game."
"The kids' heads weren't into it," Gorby said. "They thought it was going to be a breather before Bridgeport."