Bolivar receiver Blade Hancock made a statement early in the Liberators’ Friday, Sept. 20, win over Marshall.
Standing back deep in the field on the game’s first kickoff, Hancock grabbed the ball on a bounce. With the path in front of him littered with defenders, the senior dodged and weaved his way 90 yards into the open field, not stopping until he’d carried the ball into the end zone to put the Liberators up 6-0 before Bolivar’s offense could take the field.
The Liberators continued scoring through the lopsided affair, winning 59-3. Bolivar, now 4-0, had a 42-3 lead at halftime.
After Hancock’s run, kicker Alex Maldonado made his mark, sending the ball through the uprights. The play, though, drew a flag, and the subsequent reattempt was tipped, leaving the score at 6-0.
Bolivar’s Hayden Burks sacked Marshall quarterback Ben Haug to end the ensuing defensive series.
Bolivar’s defensive showcase continued later on, with Liberators Andrew Bunn, Kaden Degraffenreid and Hancock forcing a Marshall fumble as the Owls were pinned near their own goal line. Bolivar came up with the ball and the Liberators’ Eathen Dinwiddie punched it in on the next offensive possession. A 2-point conversion set the advantage at 14-0.
Under pressure the entire contest, Haug still showed resolve, driving his team down the field on the Owls’ next series to set up near the 10 yard line.
Bolivar’s Jack Roweton caught a tipped pass, but couldn’t hold on to the ball. The Owls regained possession, kicking a field goal to set the score at 14-3 with 4:30 left in the first quarter.
Bolivar’s answer came quickly. Under center near midfield, Burks tossed a long pass to Parker Erickson, who ran it the remainder of the way for a score.
With the Liberators leading 21-3, Haug again drove his team close to the end zone, only for Burks to intercept the Marshall passer before he could score.
On the next series, Erickson again scored for Bolivar, this time sneaking through Marshall’s line to make a diving catch in the end zone.
Hancock and Bo Banner grabbed touchdowns to end the first half on a dominant note.
The third quarter stayed neutral until Dinwiddie punched in for another touchdown, putting the Liberators up 49-3. The score held through the end of the third quarter.
A Maldonado field goal in the fourth quarter set the advantage at 52-3 as the game neared its closing minutes.
Bolivar’s Darrin Fugitt ended the contest with a final score for the Liberators, picking off Haug and running the interception in for a touchdown.
The Liberators next face Center High School at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 27, in Kansas City. Center won 37-13 last year.
See more photos and a preview of the matchup in the Wednesday, Sept. 25, issue of the BH-FP.