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Aerial attack, defense power Liberty over Silverado

Liberty quarterback Kenyon Oblad hit Ethan Dedeaux on a deep pass for 69 yards on the first play of the game Friday, giving a glimpse of the Patriots’ game plan.

One problem: Liberty was unable to connect on several other deep balls in the first half, allowing Silverado to hang around in their Northeast League tussle.

“We were just missing things every so slightly,” Liberty football coach Rich Muraco said. “We felt like everything was there, it was just a matter of time before we started completing those.”

Bryan Roland made an acrobatic touchdown catch on a deep pass from Oblad just before the end of the first half, and Liberty’s defense took care of the rest in a 44-6 victory over host Silverado.

The No. 2 Patriots (7-1, 3-0 Northeast), who are ranked No. 10 in USA Today’s Pacific Region rankings, have a bye next week before hosting Las Vegas for the Northeast League title on Nov. 6.

Oblad finished 9-for-23 for 236 yards with two touchdowns and one interception as an assistant coach from Brigham Young was in attendance. Stephon Stowers rushed for 68 yards and two touchdowns, and Marquell James added 47 yards and a score rushing for Liberty.

Silverado (4-3, 1-1) finished with minus-69 yards rushing as Liberty sacked two Skyhawks quarterbacks seven times.

Silverado had minus-20 yards of offense in the second half, and that included a 36-yard pass to Devion Clayton from Micah Weber in the fourth quarter with the game out of reach.

“We felt like it might be a tough matchup, their (defense) against our (offense). But we felt we definitely had the advantage our defense against their offense,” Muraco said. “A lot of it’s because of depth. We’re able to rotate a lot of defensive linemen in there and bring a lot of pressure, and they did a great job.”

Liberty led 10-6 and was in its two-minute offense late in the second quarter when Oblad floated a pass toward Roland in the end zone. Roland, who has made an oral commitment to Southern University (La.), reached over a Silverado defender to pull in the 34-yard touchdown with eight seconds left in the first half.

Dedeaux ran in the 2-point conversion to give the Patriots an 18-6 lead at halftime.

“I wouldnt say we came out flat or anything,” Muraco said. “For Bryan to go up and get that ball that was underthrown and make a great play on it, that was really big momentum for us going into the half.”

Darion Acohido turned a short pass into a 54-yard touchdown with 4:29 left in the third quarter to give the Patriots a 28-6 lead after the 2-point conversion. James and Stowers added touchdown runs in the fourth quarter for Liberty.

Liberty needed only 67 seconds to go 93 yards on its opening drive as Oblad’s pass to Dedeaux on the opening play helped set up Stowers’ 10-yard touchdown run. The Patriots went up 10-0 a little more than six minutes later as Silverado quarterback Christian Baltodano was sacked in the end zone by Cyrius Vea for a safety.

Silverado took advantage of good field position to score its only touchdown of the game in the second quarter. Baltodano hit tight end Devin Ross for 14 yards down to the Liberty 1-yard line, and Baltodano sneaked it in on the next play to cut the Patriots’ lead to 10-6 with 8:18 left in the second quarter.

Clayton finished with four receptions for 81 yards to lead the Skyhawks.

Baltodano was completed four of 15 passes for 70 yards and an interception, and Weber went 4-for-8 for 49 yards while getting most of the snaps in the second half.

Contact reporter David Schoen at dschoen@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidSchoenLVRJ.

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