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Mid-Prairie dropped their final non-district game 27-22 to Liberty, but established some consistency on the offensive side of the ball.
After giving up two early touchdowns to Liberty and trailing 13-0, the Golden Hawk offense scored their first touchdown by tearing off a 19-play, 75-yard drive that took eight minutes off the clock.
“We finally got a flow running the ball and got five yards a pop and were driving down the field,” Mid-Prairie running back Justin Schwartz said.
Schwartz led the Golden Hawks with 38 carries for 160 yards and two touchdowns on the night while catching two passes for 14 yards and a touchdown.
The 19-play drive included five third-down conversions and one fourth-down conversions. After that drive ended with a 1-yard touchdown for Schwartz, it turned the Golden Hawks spirits on both sides of the ball around.
“It feels good and shows we can (score),” Mid-Prairie right tackle Chaz Patterson said. “Before we were kind of down on each other, but now I think we understand we can do it if we keep going.”
On the next set of downs, the Golden Hawks caught a break. Liberty was on the Mid-Prairie 36-yard line and lined up to punt on fourth-and-8. A punt would have likely pinned Mid-Prairie deep in their own territory, but a high snap flew over the Liberty punter’s head and gave Mid-Prairie the ball at the Liberty 37-yard line.
From there Schwartz rushed the ball six plays in a row, eventually scoring on a 17-yard touchdown run. Schwartz then rushed a seventh time in a row to add the two-point conversion. That gave Mid-Prairie their first lead of the game at 16-13.
To end the half Mid-Prairie halted a Liberty drive at their own 20, giving them the lead going into halftime.
After a three-and-out to start the second half, Liberty went on a long drive of their own. A 15-play, 62-yard drive capped off by a Kaleb Williams touchdown run gave Iowa City a 20-16 lead with the third quarter wind
“After the first half we just didn’t really get anything on offense, and once they came down and scored we kind of lost it,” Patterson said.
The Mid-Prairie offense was stuffed on a fourth-and-2 at the start of the fourth quarter in Liberty territory. The two teams then punted back and forth on their next possessions.
Liberty’s offense then made the game a two-possession game and ran off six minutes of game time to make the score 27-16 Liberty.
The Golden Hawks didn’t go away though, with Brad Tornow completing two passes on the drive including a 40-yard play from Grant Boyse and a 10-yard touchdown from Schwartz. The Golden Hawks took only 50 seconds to go 65 yards and bring the score to 27-22.
The ensuing Vinnie Bowlin onside kick didn’t go 10 yards, clinching the game for Liberty.
Schwartz said despite the loss Mid-Prairie is feeling better after showing some life on offense this week.
“We weren’t having near as many penalties and we’re finally finding a flow,” Schwartz said. “Even though it was a tough loss we have a little more momentum going into district next week.”
Mid-Prairie now goes into district play with an 0-4 record. They’ll travel to 0-4 Central Lee this week. Central Lee is averaging just under eight points per game scored while their defense has given up nearly 40 points per game.
Mid-Prairie: 0; 16; 0; 6; 22
Liberty, Iowa City: 13; 0; 7; 7; 27
11:09, Kelby Telander 71-yard pass from Drake Woody (PAT good), 7-0 Liberty
6:50, Jack Ankenbauer 6-yard rush (2-pt failed), 13-0 Liberty
7:56, Justin Schwartz 1-yard rush (Tornow rush good) 13-8 Liberty
2:57, Justin Schwartz 17-yard rush (Schwartz rush good) 16-13 Mid-Prairie
3:43, Kaleb Williams 2-yard rush (PAT good), 20-16 Liberty
1:50, Kaleb Williams two-yard rush (PAT good), 27-16 Liberty
1:01, Justin Schwartz 10-yard pass from Brad Tornow (2-pt failed), 27-22 Liberty
Brad Tornow 3-11, 54 yards, 1 TD
Justin Schwartz 38-160 yards, 2 TD
Brad Tornow 2-11 yards
Grant Boyse, 3-4 yards
Justin Schwartz 2-14 yards, 1 TD
Grant Boyse 1-40 yards
Dominick Pickard 10.5 tackles
Grant Boyse 8.5 tackles, 2 pass break ups
Chaz Patterson, 3.5 tackles, 1 TFL
Rex Peck 6 tackles