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The Falcons score 41 second half points en route to overtaking Glencoe in both team's league opener.

PMG PHOTO: WADE EVANSON - Liberty quarterback Tytan Rekow fights through a Glencoe tackler during the Falcons' win over the Crimson Tide Friday, Sept. 30, at Liberty High School.Trailing 20-14 at the half, Liberty head coach Eric Mahlum challenged his team and they responded, outscoring Glencoe 41-19 over the games' final 24 minutes en route to a 55-39 homecoming win Friday night, Sept. 30, at Liberty High School.

"It was a team thing," Mahlum said. "The kids took to heart what the coaches had to say, a couple of our seniors had a few things to say, and we just came out ready to play. Give all the credit to our players and coaches who made the decision to turn things around."

And turn things around they did.

The Falcons (3-2)—behind nearly 400 yards of total rushing and junior Houston Lee-Perry's 136 yards—dominated the second half, turning a six-point halftime deficit into a runaway win.

Lee-Perry tallied 101 of his yards on 10 carries in the second half, accentuating Liberty's one-two running back punch of he and Tanner Steinbach who gained 83 yards and two touchdowns on just 11 carries.

PMG PHOTO: WADE EVANSON - Glencoe receiver Lucas Anthony fights off a Liberty defender during the Crimson Tide's game with Liberty Friday, Sept. 30, at Liberty High School."Houston's a tough kid," Mahlum said. "I feel sorry for some of the kids in his way. With Tanner back I guess you've got thunder and lightning back there."

Lee-Perry afterwards was more excited about the team's win than his individual performance and said that it was that team mentality that got them over the hump in what was mostly a lopsided second half.

"We weren't playing with enough passion in that first half," the running back said. "At halftime our coach told us what was up and that we need to play as a team. We did that and we played on a totally different level in that second half."

Adding to the fray was Vincent Cabezudo who had 56 yards rushing and two touchdowns on six carries, along with junior quarterback Tytan Rekow who had two touchdown runs and a touchdown pass to go with 187 total yards.

Mahlum said he likes his weapons and believes they can score in a number of different ways, and by way of a number of different players. But added that things were far from perfect on this night and that they need to be better going forward.

"The thing I know about my players is they've got a lot of heart," the coach said. "We weren't perfect by any means, but these guys came to win in the second half and they have the ability to make things happen. We just need to do a better job of starting the way we finished."

PMG PHOTO: WADE EVANSON - Liberty's Taku Diamond grabs hold of Glencoe's Cayden Mack during the Falcons' win over the Crimson Tide Friday, Sept. 30, at Liberty High School.It was finishing that gave Glencoe fits.

The Crimson Tide (1-4) were impressive in the first half and looked poised to hang with the resurgent Falcons for much of the second, but big penalties in even bigger spots cost Glencoe who had a long touchdown run called back due to holding and a second drive stunted by an illegal block.

Tide head coach Ian Reynoso acknowledged the penalties but rather than leaning on the infractions as an excuse for defeat, pointed instead to missed opportunities as the hurdle they failed to get over.

"Those (penalties) are always rough, but I've never wanted to be the guy that says penalties were the difference," the Glencoe coach said. "If you do things right they shouldn't be a factor. That stuff has a way of balancing out, but it really just came down to them making plays and us not."

For all that didn't work, there was plenty that did for the Tide. Quarterback Trevor O'Leary was a handful all night for the Falcon defense, rushing for 107 yards and two touchdowns, while completing 8-of-10 pass attempts for just over 100 yards. And sophomore running back Maliq Smith had another impressive outing, tallying 148 yards on 25 carries.

Reynoso was far from disappointed with his team in the wake of their defeat, mostly citing their inexperience as one of the primary factors for coming out on the wrong end of the outcome.

"We're a fairly young team and this was the first game we've really kind of been in," Reynoso said. "Last week we were kind of in it, but we were coming from behind. This week went back and forth a bit and we just have to learn to be comfortable in those situations."

PMG PHOTO: WADE EVANSON - Liberty running back Houston Lee Perry carries the ball during the Falcons' win over the Crimson Tide Friday, Sept. 30, at Liberty High School.The game was the first league opponent for both teams and after back-to-back defeats for the Falcons, Mahlum told his guys that this was a bit of a fresh start and another opportunity to chase a conference title.

"This was the second season and we told the guys this was exactly where we were at last year," Mahlum said. "We learned a lot from our early games and now it's league time. This is where you start playing to win the league and start trying to earn a playoff spot."

Lee-Perry agreed with his coach regarding the 'second season' and said he and his team are prepared to play their best football in the weeks to come.

"We overcame some things tonight and we've got a lot to play for in the future," he said. "We're fired up and ready to go."


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