Truman tops Liberty for third win
By Shawn Roney The Examiner
Truman help validate an old football maxim Friday night.
Football has been called “a game of inches” – a phrase often attributed to NFL coaching legend Vince Lombardi. At the end of Truman’s Suburban Middle Six thriller with Liberty, 36 inches – or maybe less – helped the Patriots squeeze out a 31-28 homecoming win at Independence All-School Stadium.
With only seconds remaining and the Blue Jays possessing the ball at their own 46-yard line, Liberty quarterback A.J. Cambric threw a Hail Mary pass downfield. Nick Kern caught the ball and bolted for the goal line.
He didn’t make it. Andreas Sese’s tackle-and-strip ended the play at Truman’s 1-yard line.
“I should’ve knocked the ball down,” the Truman senior wide receiver and defensive back said. “My coach told me to knock the ball down, but I went for the pick. I almost cost us the game, but we got the ‘W.’ That’s all that matters.”
Sese’s play, which he called the “scariest moment of my life,” was one of two defensive stops the Patriots (3-2 overall, 3-0 league) made during the final minute to secure the victory. With the score 28-28, linebacker Jaylin Williams intercepted a tipped pass with about 30 seconds left to set up Will Jenkins’ game-winning field goal with 8.8 seconds left.
“It was just ... a sudden moment,” Williams said. “I dropped back into coverage and turned around and he (receiver) bobbled the ball and it ended up in my hands. So I just kind of took off running.”
Minutes earlier, it appeared the Patriots wouldn’t need a late field goal and defensive stops to win: Jordan Salima’s 13-yard, up-the-gut TD run out of the wildcat formation and Jenkins’ extra-point kick gave Truman a 28-14 lead with 5:55 remaining.
“He’s unbelievable for us,” Patriots coach Gregg Webb said of Salima, who filled at quarterback the second half for Dean Clemons, who injured his knee at the end of the first half. “He’s a great kid. He’s one of those kids that deserves what we are able to give him a little bit here.”
Liberty (0-5, 0-2) forced the down-to-the-wire finish by scoring on back-to-back possessions. First, Cambric ripped off a 48-yard TD run and Josh Watson booted the extra point with 4:50 remaining. Then after the Jays recovered an onside kick, Watson’s 31-yard TD reception from Cambric and his point after tied it with 3:44 left.
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