It was neighbor vs neighbor, family versus friend last friday night in Liberty as the Liberty Blue Jays paid visit to the Liberty North Eagles and Crossley Activity Center for Friday night’s Class 6 District 4 semifinals of the Missouri high school football championships.
Liberty North defeated Liberty 44-13 earlier this year and the Blue Jays headed north Friday intent on avenging the loss to their crosstown rivals.
The rivalry doesn’t end on the football field, and the players are just the start. At Gary Crossley Ford in Liberty, it seems that everyone’s connected to either one or both local schools.
From former players to current band moms, Gary Crossley Ford employees had a vested interest in the big game. There may have been a few shenanigans and a little good-natured ribbing going on during the workday on Friday. A couple of folks may or may not have left work a little early.
The customers at Gary Crossley Ford are just as mix-matched as the employees. Generations of athletes, students, teachers, and administrators of both Liberty and Liberty North High Schools have bought and serviced their families’ vehicles at Gary Crossley Ford. For the most part, the warring parties kept their distance in the service lane and on the showroom floor Friday as no violence was reported.
Liberty High opens the night with bad intentions scoring a 73-yard touchdown just seconds into the game.
Thanks to some nifty blocking, Liberty’s Caden Dennis was able to convert a quick screen pass into a 73-yard scamper to the endzone putting the Blue Jays on the board and in the lead early.
The Liberty lead was short-lived though as Liberty North’s quarterback Sam Van Dyne was able to march the Eagles downfield with single-minded determination after Liberty’s quick score.
“Go match it,” was his only thought Van Dyne told the Courier-Tribune. “We’ve got to go put points on the board, and when we need to, our offense can do it.”
That they did
Van Dyne capped off that first drive with an 11-yard touchdown toss to Tate McGuire, and Liberty North proceeded to unfurl 31 unanswered points led by the running back duo of Micah Jo Barnett with 79 yards and two touchdowns and Cayden Arzola with 69 yards and one trip to the end zone.
Liberty’s offense struggled in the second half as Blue Jay quarterback Tyler Lininger suffered an injury and was replaced by sophomore Christian Kuchta. Wentric Williams III led the Liberty offense with 134 running yards on 22 carries including a 16-yard touchdown run, but it was too little too late for the Blue Jays this year
Liberty North defeats Liberty 31-14 and advances to play in the district championship on November 12 against Park Hill South.
Gary Crossley Ford congratulates the athletes, coaches, families on both teams. The dealership is a longtime sponsor of athletic and academic programs at both schools.
That is the Gary Crossley Difference – our deep connection to this community and our commitment to serving the community for a long time to come no matter where you went to school
For the rest of this season, though, we’re definitely Team Eagles! Best of luck in next week’s championship game.