Two fourth quarter scores lift Liberty over Sherman, 28-13

Phil Perry For The Coal Valley News

September 30, 2013

SETH – While holding a slim 15-13 lead entering the fourth quarter, visiting Liberty (Raleigh) scored two touchdowns in the final six minutes of the contest to crack open a tight game and leave Tide country with a hard earned victory.

The Class A Tide (2-3) it was coming off a thrilling 56-12 homecoming victory over Hannan. Coach Jeff Alexander’s Class AA Raiders of Raleigh County (2-3) were licking their wounds after a 23-6 setback to Mount View.

Both teams were sitting on the fencepost at (.500) and looking to get over the hump to kick off the second half of the season.

Junior wide-out Braden Harrah was an offensive juggernaut on this night scoring on two long passes from scrimmage. Quarterback Bailey Kirk connected with Harrah on a 65-yard strike and running back Aaron Lowe got in on the action with a 57-yard toss to Harrah to round out the Tide’s scoring.

Sherman’s most often effective rushing attack was less than pedestrian in Friday, mustering just 20 yards on 20 touches. This is made even more evident by the fact that Jordan Thompson notched a beautiful 20-yard scamper from scrimmage.

Until the final quarter scoring explosion the Tide’s “34” defense kept the maroon and gold in the contest. Sherman defenders were on the field for 32:47 compared to 15:13 for the Tide offense.

The Sherman defense was led by Tanner Lewis and Josh Buffington on this night. Both players were around the ball all evening and made several jarring hits to Raider ball carriers. Kris Santonio registered a sack on the night to the chagrin of the Raider backfield.

Outside of the two scoring strikes to Harrah, the Sherman offense struggled to move the chains consistently with only two first downs while being penalized 11 times for 95 yards on their own grass at Zontini Field.

The Sherman faithful were on their feet in the first half when Lowe broke loose on a 70-yard kickoff return and just barely missed taking it to the house. Sherman had to settle for stellar field position.

Sherman head coach J.D. Fairchild is encouraged by the improvement that his team has made this season as the squad has doubled its win total from 2012 at just mid-season in 2013.

“We have to keep working hard but we are getting there as a team. We are developing chemistry,” said Fairchild.

Sherman looked rugged in their new black uniforms that they unveiled on Friday. It was “Blackout Night” at Zontini Field as Sherman celebrated coal miners from around the state. Sherman fans responded by wearing black to create a sea of Tidesters that made a tremendous statement for the community.

Sherman travels to Independence High School (1-4) on Friday. The patriots fell 50-20 to Westside last Friday.

SHERMAN OFFENSIVE STATS – Bailey Kirk completed 5-of-15 passes for 85 yards and a scoring strike, Aaron Lowe completed 1-of-1 for 57 yards and a touchdown. Jordan Thompson had five rushes for 35 yards, Braden Harrah had four catches for 139 yards and two touchdowns.

SHERMAN DEFENSIVE STATS – Josh Buffington had 13 tackles, Tanner Lewis nine, Aaron Lowe seven, Kris Santonio six and a sack, Brandon Richards had five and a tackle for a loss, Logan Buzzard and Braden Harrah four, Steven Dickens three, Taite Pauley had two and Colten Southerland, Nate Dickens and Jordan Thompson had one.

SHERMAN SPECIAL TEAMS – Trenton Sheppard made 1-of-2 extra point attempts. Kyle Davis returned two kicks for 60 yards, Braden Harrah punted three times for 81 yards.