116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
NORTH LIBERTY — Iowa City Liberty was quiet for 2 1/2 quarters.
The Lightning made enough of a ruckus in the final quarter-and-a-half to make up for it.
Class 4A ninth-ranked Liberty (4-1) defeated No. 8 North Scott, 20-16, at home Friday night in a District 3 battle.
After putting up just 69 yards of total offense in the first half and trailing 9-0, the Lightning offense finally struck at the 5:38 mark in the third quarter.
Liberty opened the second half with a 19-play, 84-yard drive that was capped by a 4-yard TD pass from Graham Beckman to Christian Barney.
The Lancers (3-2) answered as quarterback Kyler Gerardy found Dylan Marti for a 13-yard score with 11:10 to go, giving North Scott a 16-6 led.
Gerardy wasn’t particularly effective passing the ball, completing just 8 of 18 passes for 62 yards, but he led the Lancers with 122 rushing yards on 20 attempts and a TD.
From there, it was all Lightning.
“North Scott’s a good team,” Beckman said. “We came out here, especially in the second half, and just played better than them.
“I think it was just keeping our heads up and believing in ourselves. We knew that we could play with them and even be better than them, we just kind of shot ourselves in the foot in the first half.”
Beckman threw his second touchdown on a deep pass to Garret Gregoire, who alluded two defenders along the sideline for an 80-yard score.
Following a botched punt attempt by North Scott, Liberty took possession at the Lancers’ 29. Two plays later, Beckman found Wyatt Williams for a 24-yard TD to give the Lightning their first lead of the game at 20-16 with 8:06 left.
Beckman completed 14 of 21 passes for 204 and three touchdowns.
“Garret, Christian, Wyatt, and everybody, Lucas (Meyer), and all of them (receivers), they’re crazy good,” Beckman said. “I can trust them all when I throw the ball.”
Liberty’s defense held from there.
“Our players just have a lot of guts,” said Liberty Coach James Harris. “They believe. I just appreciated them pounding the stone and believing.”
The win gives Liberty command of the district with regular-season games remaining against Mount Pleasant, Fort Madison, Burlington and Clinton.
“They (North Scott) were the placeholder in the district,” Harris said. “So now this gives us an opportunity to control our own destiny.”
“This win shows us that we’re legit,” Beckman said. “We just need to keep trusting ourselves.”
Liberty will travel to Mount Pleasant next Friday. North Scott will host Burlington.