Lee's Summit rallies past Liberty North

By Andy Meyer PrepsKC staff writer
Posted: October 16, 2018 - 7:24 AM

Complete stats and Box Score

An incredible comeback victory capped an emotional week for the Lee’s Summit football program.

Trailing for most of the game, the Tigers took the lead for the first time with 17 seconds left on a Ryan Belt touchdown grab from Darrias Pearsall. Finally, they withstood a Hail Mary as time ran out to claim a 34-30 win against Liberty North.

The victory had crucial implications in the district and conference standings, to be sure, but it took on an entirely different meaning after coach Eric Thomas lost his father earlier this week.

“To see the kids fight through and learn from those situations and never give up and just keep battling was just awesome, awesome, awesome,” Thomas said.

Liberty North (3-5) jumped out to an early lead thanks to short rushing touchdowns from Warren Bennett III and Keshawn Turner. Quarterback Jake Van Dyne put together a near-perfect game, going 15-for-16 with 288 passing yards and two touchdowns.

Bennett served as the Eagles’ electric playmaker throughout the game, as he scored three total touchdowns and racked up 117 receiving yards. And his third score gave Liberty North a nine-point lead entering the fourth quarter.

Undeterred by the deficit, Lee’s Summit found an immediate response when Pearsall connected with Belt for a 13-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter.

Pearsall’s dual-threat style helped keep the Tigers (5-3) within striking distance throughout the game, as he ran for two touchdowns and threw for two more.

“We were just trying to keep the energy up and forget about everything that’s happened in the past,” Pearsall said.

Needing a stop to have a chance, the Tigers’ defense came up big and forced a punt with 4:27 remaining to give the offense just enough time to complete the comeback.

On a big fourth down play, Pearsall found Belt for a game-saving first down. And two plays later, Pearsall rolled to his right and found Belt for a 41-yard catch-and-run touchdown that put Lee’s Summit in the lead for the first time all night.

“I soon as I found him, I knew he was gone,” Pearsall said. “He just knows how to make plays whenever I get him the ball. And the line was just perfect.

“I just had patience and threw it to him.”

Belt finished with 132 receiving yards and a pair of touchdowns, while Lee’s Summit running back Micah Manning also rolled up 145 yards and a touchdown.

Liberty North had a chance to win in the final seconds with a Hail Mary from 31 yards away, but Van Dyne’s only incompletion of the game fell incomplete, allowing the Tigers to hold on.

The emotional victory provides a spark for Lee’s Summit as it seeks to get surge toward the postseason on a winning note.

“It’s big momentum for us to get another win against a team that I think is on the rise and playing really well to get things going toward Week 10,” Thomas said.