Kruse triplets, stout Liberty Center defense end Oak Harbor season, 45-14

Nov 14, 2023 | Sports | 0 comments

Quarterback Mike Lalonde (3) engineered a 59-yard scoring march late in the first half to score Oak Harbor’s first touchdown, a 14-yard pass to Ethan Stokes. (Photos by Julie Overmyer)

Liberty Center (13-0) got off to a fast start in rolling up a 21-7 first half lead against Oak Harbor, finishing its season at 12-1, in the Division V regional semifinal at Clay High School in Oregon. Surprisingly, they did it with a air attack that combined with the Tigers stellar ground game.

Liberty Center now heads to the D-V, Region 18 final next Friday, Nov. 17 against Coldwater, 12-1, which easily rolled over Edison, 42-7, last Friday.

The Rockets’ Tyler Thompson (34) looks for some room to run against Liberty Center on Friday.

Leading the way for Liberty Center were the Kruse triplets, Colton, Trenton and Landen. Colton rushed for 124 yards in 10 tries, including a 31-yard touchdown; Trenton ran for 113 yards on 14 carries, and 8- and 33-yard TDs, and Landen snared five passes for 114 yards.

That enabled quarterback Landon Amstutz to have an outstanding game. Amstutz, who passed for just 749 yards in 12 games during the regular season, was 10 of 16 for 194 yards against Oak Harbor.

The Tigers rang up 526 yards of offense, while the Rockets recorded only 298 yards, much of it on the arm of quarterback Michael Lalonde, who connected on 20 of 33 passes for 244 yards.

Running back Jaqui Hayward (7) wrapped up the Oak Harbor scoring in the third quarter, capping an 80-yard drive with a 1-yard run.

Liberty Center kicked off the scoring early on Trenton Kruse’s 33-yard touchdown run. Amstutz’s hot passing game had them on the move again in the second quarter and Colton Kruse scored on a 31-yard run. Trenton Kruse’s 8-yard touchdown run put Oak Harbor in a deep hole in the first half, 21-0.

Late in the first half, Lalonde moved the Rockets down the field with his passes, and hit Ethan Stokes for 14 yards for a touchdown to make it 21-7 just seconds before halftime. The Tigers put the game away with three touchdowns in the second half before running back Jaqui Hayward scored late in the third quarter for the Rockets on a 1-yard run.

Running back Carson Ridener (5) of Oak Harbor tests the center of the Liberty Center line in their regional semifinal on Friday night.

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