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Flames Overcome Slow Start To Down Mountain Lions In Season Opener

September 3, 2005
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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It took the Flames almost three full quarters to get their offense started, but the last 17 minutes was good enough to lead Liberty to a 17-6 season-opening victory over Concord, Saturday evening, at Williams Stadium.

Liberty (1-0) attempted to get on the scoreboard on its opening possession of the season as the Flames managed to get to the Mountain Lion's 27-yard line; however, Ben Beasley's (Jr., K, Laurel, Miss.) 44 yard field goal sailed wide left to leave the game scoreless.

Concord (0-2) wasted little time getting on the scoreboard as the Mountain Lions marched down the field on their opening possession and capped off an 11-play, 73-yard drive as quarterback Ryan Pimentel found Dustin Greenwood open on a pass in the back of the endzone for a touchdown.

However, Liberty's special teams unit continued their tradition of making their presence known as Jason Horn (Jr., DL, Phoenix, Ariz.) was able to come up the middle and block Matt Baker's extra point, leaving the score at 6-0 with 5:28 left to play in the first half.

The remainder of the half proved to be a defensive struggle as both teams combined for just 154 yards of total offense, with Zacry Kolegue's (So., K, Naples, Fla.) 29-yard field goal drifting wide right on the second late play of the first quarter in the only other true scoring opportunity of the half.

The momentum continued with the Mountain Lions as Concord looked like they had prime field position after a Noah Crouch (r-Sr., P, Madison Height, Va.) punt gave Concord the ball on the Flames' 45 yard line; however, the Mountain Lions were whistled for a roughing the kicker penalty, giving Liberty a new set of downs.

And the Flames made the most of the Mountain Lion's miscue as five consecutive rushing plays, with four by Marcus Hamilton (r-Sr., RB, Knoxville, Tenn.) and one by Brock Farrel (Sr., QB, San Marcos, Calif.), set up a screen pass from Farrel to Hamilton which the running back caught and then evaded several defenders en route to a 47-yard scoring strike with 1:40 left to play in the third quarter, giving Liberty a 7-6 edge.

After forcing the Mountain Lions to turn the ball over on a three-and-out series, the Flames quickly padded their lead as Lauren Williams took advantage of his height difference over a Concord defensive back as the 6-3 wideout was able to leap over the defender and pull down a 41-yard reception, which set up Hamilton on the next play to find the endzone on a sweeping play to the right side of the field on an 18-yard touchdown run just 32 seconds into the fourth quarter.

Liberty's special teams unit made its second key effort of the contest on the following drive as after another three-and-out series Rod Fluellen (Fr., RB, Columbia, S.C.) was able to block a Chris Harker punt, giving the Flames the ball back on the Concord 11-yard line.

However, the Mountain Lions were able to keep the damage to a minimum as Liberty was only able to advance the ball two yards and had to settle for a 27-yard field goal by Kolegue, pushing the score to its final margin of 17-6 with 12:39 left in the contest.

Hamilton led the Flames' rushing attack with his second career 100-yard game as the senior rushed for a game high 138 yards on 19 carries (averaging 7.3 yards per rushing attempt) with a touchdown, while Rajive Otah (Jr., RB, San Diego, Callif.), in his first game in a Liberty uniform, added 46 yards on 10 touches. James Tunstalle led Concord with 53 yards rushing on 19 carries.

Farrel led the Flames to their fifth-straight victory with him under center as the quarterback completed 9-of-22 passes for 147 yards and a touchdown, while his counterpart Ryan Pimentel finished the game by completing 10-of-24 passes for 122 yards and a touchdown.

Lauren Williams (r-Sr., WR, Upper Marlboro, Md.) (54 yards) and Wynton Jackson (So., WR, Jacksonville, Fla.) (21 yards) each recorded three receptions for the Flames, while Hamilton recorded the decisive 47-yard touchdown reception. Concord had seven different players finish with at least one reception with LeBryan Patterson leading the pack with three catches for 24 yards.

Defensively, the Flames were paced by Brandon Duke (r-So., LB, Fort Myers, Fla.) as the linebacker tallied a career-best 12 tackles, while defensive back C.J. Moore (r-Sr., DB, Palmetto, Fla.) and fellow linebacker Manny Rojas (r-Jr., LB, Oakdale, Pa.) each added nine stops. Darryl Wilson led Concord with 11 tackles.

The Flames will take to the road for their next game as Liberty travels to East Hartford, Conn., next weekend to square off against I-A Connecticut. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. at Rentschler Field.