The Shocker defense holds back the Mountain Lion offense. (Joel Harding photo)
By Joel Harding
Empire Press Correspondent
Liberty Bell visited Waterville/Mansfield Oct. 9 and went away with a 40-22 win in the Shocker homecoming game. Waterville/Mansfield started slow but picked up momentum as the game wore on. The Lions were able to build an 18-8 lead by halftime, but the Shockers came back strong in the fourth quarter.
It looked good for Waterville/Mansfield on the first drive until Liberty Bell intercepted a Nolan Ruud pass on their own 10-yard line. After a long run by the Lions, the visitors were able to cross the goal for the first touchdown of the game. Ruud’s tackle late in the drive was a classic nose-to-the-numbers stop that dropped the Lion in his tracks.
Waterville scored late in the first half. Cody Deshazer recovered a Lion onside kick attempt. Then Ruud ran a bootleg for a dozen yards. Dillon McCullough then took the team on his shoulders with a series of five- to 12-yard runs that brought the Shockers close to the goal line. After a holding penalty, Ruud came back with a screen pass to Mansfield’s Zane Salcido for the score. A pass to Lakin Thomsen on the conversion was complete.
Waterville/Mansfield’s second touchdown drive came after the team began to experiment with formations. On some plays, they spread the field by using flankers and slots. Other times, they added another blocker in the backfield. The result was success.
Waterville/Mansfield was able to take over on downs on the Liberty Bell 21. Ruud got half the way to the goal line on a nine-yard run and Salcido took it in the rest of the way. The conversion was unsuccessful.
The final score by the Shockers was exciting. Salcido made a great open field tackle and Matt McCullough sacked the Lion quarterback for 10 yards. Then Salcido picked off a Liberty Bell pass and ran it to the seven-yard line. After a penalty pushed the Shockers back 15 yards, Ruud hit Thomsen over the middle and he took it in for six points. Braylen Bromiley ran the ball in for the two-point conversion.
Waterville/Mansfield will travel to Entiat Oct. 16 for their next game and will then travel to Almira/Coulee-Hartline Oct. 23.