Issaquah holds off Liberty in OT, 27-21
Nik Landdeck forced and then recovered a fumble in overtime, preserving the Eagles' win over the Patriots in a matchup of ranked teams.
Seattle Times staff reporter
With Liberty just inches from the game-tying score, Nik Landdeck knew he needed to make a play.
He knew he needed to do something to steal the Patriots' late-game magic. If the ball crossed the goal line, Liberty only needed to kick the PAT to clinch its second come-from-behind win in two weeks.
So Landdeck stripped it. The senior linebacker recovered the fumble and sent his Issaquah teammates spilling onto the field after knocking off Liberty, ranked No. 2 in Class 3A, 27-21 in two overtimes Friday night at Liberty.
"That's one heck of a game right there," Landdeck said. "Liberty's one good team and they're going to go far. They're going to go really far. They've got heart and they don't stop."
For the second straight game, Liberty fell behind early. For the second straight game, the Patriots rallied.
Issaquah quarterback Ethan Kalin played well early. He completed 6 of his first 8 passes for 79 yards. He also scored the Eagles' first touchdown, a 2-yard run.
But, despite outgaining Liberty 206-48 in the first half, the score was tied at 7 at halftime. Chandler Jenkins picked off a pair of passes in the second quarter, the second returned for a 35-yard score.
"If you're going to be great, adversity is going to define you," Liberty coach Steve Valach said. "We had adversity. No excuses. We had a couple guys out, but shoot, they responded like champions."
Issaquah (2-0) took the lead late in the third quarter when Kalin hit Evan Peterson from 11 yards out.
Clinging to a lead late in the fourth quarter the Eagles, ranked sixth in 4A, attempted a 30-yard field goal. The snap sailed over the holder's head and gave Liberty (1-1) one last chance.
Patriots quarterback Trey Wheeler tied the score in the waning minutes with a 56-yard pass to sophomore Tynan Gilmore, who was playing because of injuries to Jake Bainton and Joshua Gordon.
"Here came Liberty with just a storm of momentum," Issaquah coach Chris Bennett said. "I'm so proud of our kids to persevere and make mistakes, but find ways to get it done."
The teams traded touchdowns in the first overtime and Taylor Wyman scored the go-ahead TD in the second, but the extra point was no good.
Landdeck forced the fumble that sealed the victory.
"I couldn't even look at the play," Kalin said. "I was just turned around, hoping I would hear my fans screaming."
As soon as he heard those screams, he sprinted onto the field to celebrate.