Stratton/Liberty hosting Fleming for 6-man championship
The Stratton/Liberty football team will be playing for its second straight Class A 6-Man football state championship when it hosts the Fleming Wildcats, Saturday afternoon in Stratton.
The Knighted Eagles are in their third straight championship game after beating Cheyenne Wells 62-32, last Saturday in the semifinals. Fleming knocked off top-seed Kit Carson 68-52 in the other semifinal. Stratton/Liberty had beat Kit Carson in last year’s championship game, then lost to Kit Carson in the 2019 season opener.
They have not lost since, ripping off 11 straight wins, each by at least 29 points or more. Fleming is 12-0, its closest game coming last Saturday in the semifinals when the Wildcats handed Kit Carson its first loss.
Stratton/Liberty went on the road for the one and only time in the postseason, traveling to Cheyenne Wells last Saturday. The Knighted Eagles had to rally from an early deficit, eventually running away with the win.
The Knighted Eagles were on defense first.
Cheyenne Wells took it down and scored on their first possession to go up 8-0.
Stratton/Liberty answered right back with a Jaret Lichty two-yard run. The PAT was blocked, keeping the Tigers ahead 8-6. This was the only missed PAT of the game, with Wedel making the next seven.
Cheyenne Wells scored next after converting two fourth downs, one a fake punt, to go up 16-6 after one quarter.
The Knight Eagles scored early in the second on a 60-yard run by Trevor Frank to make the score 16-14. The defense forced a punt, and Frank scored again, this time on a 58-yard run to put Stratton/Liberty up 22-16.
The Knighted Eagles got the ball back one more time before half and scored with seven seconds left on the clock on a five-yard touchdown pass from Zeke Craig to Lichty to make it 30-16 at half.
Stratton/Liberty came out of the locker room strong in the second half, with Lichty scoring twice on the first play from scrimmage (after the first one was called back for holding) to make it 38-16.
Charlie Clapper scored the next touchdown on the second play from scrimmage on a 44-yard run to make it 46-16 early in the third.
Cheyenne Wells drove down to the 10-yard line before Tyler Hase picked up a fumble and ran it back 70 yards for a touchdown to make it 54-16 after three quarters. CW scored on a nice pass play to get within 56-24 before Lichty closed out the scoring on a nine-yard run to make it 62-24.
Cheyenne returned a fumble for a touchdown for their last score to bring the final score to 62-32.
The defense played really well, coach Toby Kechter pointed out, only allowing 16 points after the first quarter. The defense played well the first quarter, but Cheyenne Wells made some nice plays to score, the coach said. Lichty led with 13 tackles, two for loss; Frank added 11 and a sack, Craig nine and an interception, Clapper eight, Cruz seven tackles and six hurries,Hase five with one for loss, four hurries and a 70-yard fumble return for touchdown, Zach Armour four tackles and three hurries, and Riggin Williams two tackles.
The offense had its share of bad plays, Kechter said, but Cheyenne Wells plays an extremely aggressive defense. Jon Galardo had an awesome game blocking CW’s best player. Zach Armour and Hase also played well up front. Craig went 4-6 passing for 30 yards and one touchdown as he completed his last four passes. Hase caught two passes for 25 yards and Lichty one for five yards and a touchdown.
The Knighted Eagles made their home on the ground behind the previously mentioned lineman. Lichty ran it 26 times for 200 yards and three touchdowns, Frank 13 times for 162 yards and two touchdowns, and Clapper had three carries for 38 yards and a touchdown.