The Salina Liberty started off their 2021 season in style tonight with a 62-17 win over the Arlington Longhorns.
The Liberty’s dominant win came despite the fact that eight of their top veterans did not suit up tonight to make room on the gameday roster for more rookies to showcase their talent.
While the returners like Tracy Brooks, who scored two touchdowns in the first quarter, stole the show early, it was the new blood that impressed in the second third and fourth en route to a big win.
Running back Charles Arnold returned two kickoffs for touchdowns to add to a rushing TD earlier in the game. The swarming defense forced a number of key turnovers and kept the pressure on the Longhorns QB. And rookie quarterback Mitch Kidd threw three touchdown passes after Tyrie Adams suffered an injury and did not return the game.
“Tyrie got banged up a little bit,” Liberty coach Heron O’Neal said. “He could have come back in but I didn’t want to test it, we’re keeping him ready for next week and Mitch took advantage of the opportunity.”
While the Liberty lit up the scoreboard, Coach O’Neal still thinks the team has a long way to go to get to where he wants to be ahead of Salina’s first CIF game next week.
“We had too many bad snap exchanges, missed assignments at wide receiver and running back, defensive linemen running lawlessly up the field and secondary busts,” he said. “We have to get all of that fixed. It’s 62-17 but I’m not pleased with what I saw and some of these guys made it very easy for what’s going to happen tomorrow.”
The Liberty coaching staff will have some tough decisions to make as with the eight returning vets rejoining the roster, only 25 of the 35 remaining players will make the final cut.
Salina will be back in action next Friday when the Liberty host the Wichita Force in the Champions Indoor Football season opener.