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Jaguars falter late again, fall to No. 2 Liberty

By Michael Smith
The Examiner

Blue Springs South was seeking its first football win of the season Friday against undefeated Liberty – and for a moment it looked like the Jaguars would have a good chance of doing that.

After the Blue Jays dominated the first half, Jaguars quarterback Luke Fellers made it a game when he scored on a 26-yard touchdown run to cut the Liberty lead to 21-13 with 48 seconds remaining in the third period.

However, a big game from Liberty running back Wentric Williams III and a pair of special teams mistakes will have South waiting another week to try for its first win after a 42-13 loss Friday at Larry Stewart Memorial Stadium.

“We’ve been close every Friday, but we keep finding a way to beat ourselves,” Jaguars coach Matt Klein said. “We have to work to eliminate that by having great practices.”

After Fellers’ touchdown, the Blue Jays (5-0), who are ranked second in the Class 6 state media poll, scored 21 unanswered points. Liberty scored on its next drive when quarterback Luke Smith converted a fourth-and-1 from the South 2-yard line on a sneak. That set up Williams’ 1-yard scoring plunge with 7:21 left to extend the Blue Jays’ lead to 28-13.

From there, it all went bad for the Jaguars (0-5). Liberty recovered the ball on the ensuing kickoff after South failed to scoop it up, setting up the Blue Jays in the red zone right away. Williams capped off his big night with another 1-yard rushing TD, his fifth of the game, a career high.

“He’s a really good running back and we knew that coming in,” Klein said. “We had to focus to stop him, but I have to credit their offensive line, they did a great job.”

Williams proved to be a load to bring down for the South defense as he was consistently breaking tackles. He rushed for 144 of his team’s 217 yards on the ground on 29 attempts.

“There are times he gets hit and he still gets yards,” Liberty coach Chad Frigon said of Williams. “His demeanor is the same all the time and it rubs off on everyone else. He sets the tone for our offense.”

The Blue Jays finished off the game when South fumbled the next kickoff, giving Liberty the ball at the Jaguar 12. On the first play, Smith hit fullback Jeremiah Cabuyaban on a 12-yard TD pass to thwart any hopes the Jaguars had of a comeback.

South surprised Liberty to start the game when it recovered an onside kick. It then took advantage when Fellers found a wide open running back Jayden Steele on a play-action pass for a 3-yard score. South missed the extra point to make it 6-0.

Liberty then scored three consecutive touchdowns on runs of 6, 8 and 1 from Williams, as it went into halftime up 21-6.

South got back in the game in the third after Fellers got more involved in the running game with designed runs and scrambles. The senior rushed for 141 yards on 19 carries and completed 9 of 25 passes for 98 yards. No other Jaguar rushed for more than 13 yards.

“Sometimes it was just the coverage breaking down and he had to take off with it,” Klein said of Fellers. “He did a really good job of making some plays with his feet.”

And that’s one thing the Jaguars can build on going into next week’s game against No. 1-ranked Raymore-Peculiar. Frigon was impressed with the Jaguars.

“I think Blue Springs South did a good job defending us,” Frigon said. “They took us out of a lot of what we wanted to do in the passing game. They have a good squad over there, they prepared well for us.”