Kooiker’s leg carries Liberty past Steilacoom

Kicker’s two field goals the differnce in Patriots 20-13 playoff win.

Liberty football stayed alive and unbeaten this weekend with a 20-13 win over Steilacoom Friday at Liberty High School to push the Patriots one step closer to the state championship game at the Tacoma Dome in December.

On a day when Quarterback Austin Regis threw two interceptions and the Liberty rushing attack struggled to pick up a lot of yards, the hero of the day was kicker Holden Kooiker whose two field goals made up the difference and carried the game for Liberty.

The Patriots scored first, on a 34-yard first-quarter run by Jake Wright. Kooiker added the extra point for a 7-0 Liberty lead as the quarter came to an end. The teams traded field position through the second with neither team able to get on the board and halftime arrived with Liberty still up by a touchdown.

In the third, the Sentinels came out fighting, scoring on a pass play to knot the score at 7-7. But Liberty responded as Regis ran one in himself from two yards out to put the Patriots up 14-7. Kooiker followed with his first field goal of the day, a 36-yarder to make it 17-7.

Before the quarter was out, Steilacoom’s quarterback was also able to scamper in for a 2-yard touchdown of his own to cut Liberty’s lead to 17-15 as the teams entered the final frame.

In the fourth, the Patriots again turned to Kooiker, who booted through a 23-yard field goal for a 20-14 lead and win.

Liberty is now 10-0 on the year. This weekend they will play River Ridge, who beat W.F. West 35-7, with the winner headed to the semifinals on Nov. 26.

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