Liberty’s defense stymies Wichita

The Salina Liberty got their best defensive effort of the season and in the process got another win.

Salina climbed back to the .500 mark with its 50-22 victory over the Wichita Force at Tony’s Pizza Events Center on Saturday night. The Liberty are now 2-2, a half-game behind Omaha for the top spot in the Northern Division of Champions Indoor Football.

Liberty opponents in the first three games had averaged 58.3 points, but the Force (1-4) didn’t get halfway to that figure.

The Salina offense was again led by running back Tracy Brooks. The leader in the CIF in both rushing touchdowns and rushing yards, Brooks had another big night, single1handedly outscoring Wichita with four touchdowns.

Salina never trailed in the second half after taking a 21-13 lead into the break. After the Force closed the deficit to two points on a 10-yard Joe Hubener-to-Montero Dubose touchdown pass with 9:34 to play in the third, the Liberty defense allowed only three points the rest of the game.

Brooks had a 3-yard touchdown reception from Andrew Jackson to extend the lead to 27-19. When the Salina defense got a defensive stop on the next Force possession, Jackson found Rashad Pargo for a 24-yard touchdown pass on the Liberty’s first offensive play to extend the lead to 14 points.

The two teams traded field goals on their next possessions and Jimmy Allen’s 18-yard attempt had Salina up 36-22 midway through the fourth. Another defensive stop and another quick score, this time on a Brooks 18-yard run made it 43-22 with 4:08 to play.

If that didn’t seal the win, a Dana Harris interception of Hubener on the next possession did.

Brooks finished with 110 yards rushing on 20 carries, and also had three catches for 41 yards. Jackson’s four touchdown passes included two to Pargo and another to Anthony Jones only 26 seconds before halftime.

Hubener, the former Kansas State quarterback, had 138 yards passing and two touchdowns, but was also intercepted twice.

After three consecutive games at home, Salina will be in Iowa next week to face the Sioux City Bandits for the second time this season. The Liberty defeated Sioux City 65-45 on March 30 in Salina.