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2015 Liberty Football Capsule

LIBERTY

League: Division I Northeast

Head coach: Rich Muraco, seventh season (61-17)

2014 record: 10-3 (3-1 Northeast, second)

Returning lettermen: 31

Returning starters: Eight offense, six defense

Base offensive set: Multiple

Base defensive set: 3-4 Flex

Top offensive players: WR Ethan Dedeaux (Jr.); QB Kenyon Oblad (So.); WR Bryan Roland (Sr.); WR Darion Acohido (Jr.); OL Malasala Aumavae-Laulu (Jr.)

Top defensive players: LB Kaimi Batoon (Sr.); S Arie McQuaig (Sr.); S Damanhy Whittle (Jr.); LB Calvin Tubbs (Sr.); DL Alofania Tevaseu (Sr.); CB Ethan Dedeaux (Jr.)

Top newcomers: WR Gavin Caci (Sr.); C Elliot Epstein (Sr.); RB/S Stephon Stowers (Sr.): DE/TE Nayton Koki (Sr.)

Key losses: DT Noah Jefferson; DL Josh Bernard-Lee; S Preston Pavlica

Outlook: The Patriots had never made the playoffs before 2009, but Muraco has quickly turned the team into a Sunrise Region power. Liberty has won the last five region titles, and looks to be among the favorites again this year.

The offense could be explosive, led by junior receiver Dedeaux, a first-team all-state selection last season after catching 42 passes for 872 yards and eight TDs.

Acohido (23 catches, 312 yards) and Roland (21 catches, 307 yards) are two more solid receiving options for sophomore quarterback Oblad.

Oblad is coming off a strong freshman season, although he did show some inconsistency.

A year of experience should help him improve, and he’s coming off a season where he had 2,240 passing yards and 16 TDs. He completed 54.6 percent of his passes, and was intercepted 12 times.

Injuries forced the team to go deep into its depth chart at running back last season, and the team’s top two rushers are gone.

But Tubbs, who was limited to 30 carries last season, is a bruising runner back for a third year at running back.

He’ll run behind an experienced line that returns three starters, highlighted by 6-foot-6-inch, 350-pound junior guard Aumavae-Laulu. Muraco said Aumavae-Laulu averaged three pancake blocks last season.

All-state picks Jefferson and Pavlica will be tough to replace on defense, but Batoon is an experienced linebacker who was a first-team All-Northeast League pick last season, and should lead the defense.

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