IOWA CITY — Down three with the ball on Iowa City High’s 1-yard-line and the clock ticking away, Iowa City Liberty quarterback Tye Hughes fumbled the snap. The Lightning recovered, giving the offense one last chance with just 12 seconds remaining.
On the next snap, Hughes dashed into the end zone from 2 yards out to give Liberty (2-2) a 28-24 victory in the first annual Battle for Zeus and newly-created Clash for the Titans Trophy.
“We fumble on the goal line, but by God we practice fumble drills every day,” Liberty Coach Jeff Gordon said. “We didn’t want to fumble it, but we got the ball back and gave ourselves a chance.”
The City High (1-3) defense forced two early turnovers that resulted in 10 points.
On Liberty’s second possession of the game, Edward McKee put the heat on Hughes and forced a fumble. It was recovered in the end zone by City.
Gable Mitchell then picked off Hughes to set up a Kongalo Mwenemkamba 27-yard field goal.
Darius Willis-Newell — who had 22 carries for 151 yards — kept Liberty in the game.
The junior running back scored a 31-yard touchdown early in the second quarter.
“It was my O-Line,” Newell said. “We knew we had to come out prepared to get the win.”
Joey Bouska capped a 13-play, 64-yard drive with a score that gave City a 17-7 lead at halftime.
Liberty defender Luke Meyer picked off a Raph Hamilton pass and returned it to the house from 25 yards out, cutting the lead to three.
The Lightning took their first lead of the game when Willis-Newell scored from 17 yards out on the first play of the fourth quarter.
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City High answered with 5:16 left as Raph Hamilton punched it in from four yards out to give the Little Hawks the lead back, 24-21.