Smithville outlasts Liberty North in OT win
By Stephen Bubalo PrepsKC staff writer
Two of the biggest plays in the careers of Smithville’s Austin Adamson and Tyler Lamb saved the Warriors season Friday night.
After letting a 21-0 lead slip away, Adamson and Lamb were a big reason why Smithville was able to overcome a complete collapse and defeat Liberty North 31-28 in overtime for a pivotal district win.
Adamson’s big play was an overtime sack, while Lamb kicked the game-winning field goal to set off a celebration.
“I just took it like it was every other kick, like it was an extra point,” Lamb said of the 23-yarder. “I did my same routine.”
This was definitely had a lot more importance, as it moved the Warriors to 7-2 overall and more importantly, put them at 1-1 in district play, same as the Eagles.
“All we could think about as seniors was that this couldn’t be our last game,” Lamb said, pointing to the fact that next week’s game against Excelsior Springs would have been meaningless as far as the playoffs are concerned had they lost. “We left it all out there.”
For a while it looked like it would be an easy win, as Smithville went ahead by three touchdowns before turnovers hurt them for the second straight week, allowing the Eagles to get back in the game, eventually tying the score at 21 before both teams scored one more time to put the game into overtime.
It appeared as if Liberty North might have the momentum going into overtime, as it had just scored on a 74-yard touchdown pass from Garrett Loew to Zac Miller. They even picked off an Eric Gromacki pass before regulation ended, but a fumble by Paul Silvio deep in Warrior territory sent the game into overtime.
Still, Eagles head coach Ken Clemens felt like his team was in a good position.
“Honestly, I felt like we were the better team at that point,” he said. “We had couple of bad breaks, including the fumble at the end of regulation. But that’s all part of the game. We created that situation by getting down in the first half.”
In overtime, a play after the Eagles had nearly scored on a play action pass, Adamson tracked down Loew for an 11-yard loss, setting up a third-and-21 situation.
“That was probably the biggest play of my career,” Adamson said. “He dropped back like he was going to throw it to the end zone, he pump faked and I jumped up and came down on top of him.”
Clemens thought there might have been a missed horse collar tackle on the sack, but the Eagles still had a fourth-and-4 play that was unsuccessful.
“As a defensive player, we wanted to just give the offense a chance,” Adamson said. “We were psyched to get out there. I enjoyed working under pressure.”
The Smithville offense didn’t waste any time and after five running plays – four from Zach Parmenter who finished with 141 yards and two touchdowns – Lamb sealed the win.
“I had no doubt it was good once it left my foot,” Lamb said.
The Smithville defense was the story early on, as they made life tough for the Eagle offense and standout tailback Antwynn Beavers, who came in averaging more than 200 yards per game but had just 65 at the half.
The Warriors took a 21-0 lead early in the third quarter on a 54-yard touchdown run by Parmenter.
“We’re still a little inexperienced in just our second year. We have to learn not to wait until exciting things happen to get excited,” Clemens said of the team’s slow start.
The Eagles cut the deficit to 21-7 and then got an interception and stopped a Warrior fake punt attempt on consecutive possessions. They turned each into touchdowns – both on Beavers touchdowns runs, as he finished with average-for-him 150 yards – to tie the game at 21-all midway through the fourth quarter.
Smithville would put the pressure back on after a 12-yard scoring run by Parmenter.
Next week could be the final week of the season for one team, as the Warriors will travel to Excelsior Springs and Liberty North will host sixth-ranked Kearney at William Jewell College.
“We can’t look past anybody,” Lamb said. “We have to win.”
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