Liberty North 2013: Reaching new heights

Stephen Bubalo/PrepsKC

By Dion Clisso PrepsKC Managing Editor
Posted: March 3, 2014 - 4:36 PM

In 2013 Liberty North’s football program came of age. In the fourth year of existence the Eagles made a run to the Missouri Class 4 semifinals before falling 26-14 to Jefferson City Helias.
The regular season saw Liberty North get good wins over Ruskin, Truman and Raytown South. The Eagles beat those three teams by a combined 124-0. Their other two wins came over Platte County and Grandview.
While the five wins tied the high water mark in the regular season for Liberty North, the four losses came to good teams. The Eagles lost to Fort Osage, Kearney, Winnetonka and Park Hill South. Three of the losses came in the first six weeks of the season as North battled through some injuries to key players.
Once the postseason rolled around the Eagles were healthy and firing on all cylinders. North opened with impressive wins over St. Joseph Benton and Smithville before blanking St. Joseph Lafayette 35-0 to win the district title. Next up was an undefeated Bolivar that had won at Harrisonville in the regular season and just beaten an undefeated Pleasant Hill for its district title. The Eagles would roll 35-0 to advance to the semis.
“Our highlight was the 35-0 win over previously undefeated Bolivar in the quarterfinals,” Clemens said. “ It was our most complete game of the year.”
Clemens also said the late-season surge was a product of tough play on the field.
“We became more and more physical as the season progressed,” Clemens said. “We also got four of our eight injured starters back for our playoff run, which spurred a great improvement.”
It was a talented group that was led by 28 seniors, 12 of which started for most of the season. The work now turns to getting ready for the 2014 campaign. North moves up to Class 5 and it will also be in a new conference. The Eagles move up to the Suburban Small Seven after spending its first four years in the Small Six.
Clemens said the work of getting ready for next season continues.
“We will have to continue to encourage toughness and physical football,” Clemens said. “But we will also have to find ways to win games when our opponents can match our style of play and slow our base plays.
“Off-seasons at North are great. All of our kids are in weight training, which is basically our off-season program in a nutshell. They are also in other sports, which keeps them engaged at school.”