Liberty had won just three games in the last three seasons combined, including just one a year ago, but has been one of the surprise teams thus far.
The Redhawks continued that on Friday, improving to 5-1 in district and 6-2 overall with a 54-27 victory over Princeton.
One big reason for Liberty’s turnaround was the emergence of sophomore quarterback Keldric Luster.
But Luster has missed the last two games, forcing them to adjust. Will Glatch, the starting quarterback last season who had since shifted into a starring role on defense, moved back under center and was once again a key, throwing for a pair of touchdowns and rushing for another.
The Redhawks trailed early, but it did not last long, as Glatch hooked up with Evan Stewart on a 56-yard touchdown pass to tie it at 7-7.
Jonathon Bone gave Liberty the lead with a 8-yard touchdown run and Evan Moore kicked a pair of field goals to make it 20-7.
Princeton cut the lead to six in the second quarter, but the Redhawks again came right back, as Bone broke free for a 51-yard touchdown run, Jack Bryan scored on a 33-yard run and Will Ashmore added a 30-yard scoring run to blow it open at 40-14.
Glatch put the finishing touches on the victory, scoring on a 30-yard run and then finding Lawson Towne on a 58-yard touchdown pass.
Lebanon Trail has already set a school record for victories in a season and was hoping to add to its list of achievements by making the first playoff appearance in the program’s short three-year history.
The Trail Blazers (3-3 in district) still have a chance to make that happen, but it will be more difficult after a 52-22 loss to Denison (4-2) on Thursday.
The Yellow Jackets hit Lebanon Trail with a pair of big running plays early on, as Caleb Heavner had a 38-yard touchdown run and Asa Osbourn broke free for a 53-yard score to open a 14-0 lead.
Lebanon Trail did not go away, as Drew Martin had a 54-yard touchdown run and the two-point conversion cut it to 14-8.
Following a Denison field goal, the Trail Blazers marched 98 yards, with Martin finding Parker Mawhee on a 26-yard touchdown pass to cut the deficit to 17-15.
The Yellow Jackets would have an answer, though, as Heavner hooked up with Jadarian Price on a 55-yard scoring strike to push it to 24-15 and it was a sign of things to come.
Denison would reel off 35 consecutive points to open a 52-15 advantage, and while Lebanon Trail added one more score, it was not enough.
In a battle for the top spot in 7-5A Division II, Lovejoy took control in the second half to claim a 38-28 victory over Frisco on Friday.
The Raccoons (4-1) led 14-3 at halftime, but the offenses revved up in the second half, as the Leopards (6-0) rallied to take a 24-21 lead.
Frisco responded when Caree’ Green hit Donta’ Reece for a 31-yard touchdown pass, but Lovejoy came right back when Luke Mayfield hit Reid Westervelt on a 65-yard scoring strike to regain the advantage at 31-28.
The Raccoons then fumbled the ball away and the Leopards capitalized, as R.W. Rucker found the end zone on a 11-yard run to seal the victory.
Prosper Rock Hill (1-5) might be out of the playoff race, but it had reason to celebrate on Friday with the first victory in program history with a 34-28 win over Lake Dallas.
The Blue Hawks trailed 28-14, but reeled off 20 unanswered points, capping the comeback when Brenner Cox threw a 32-yard touchdown pass to Jayden Hall with just 15 seconds left.
Liberty has another big game this week when it takes on Denison at 7 p.m. Friday at Munson Stadium. Lovejoy looks to stay undefeated with a home date against Lebanon Trail, Frisco tries to bounce back against Prosper Rock Hill and Memorial hosts Lake Dallas in a Friday matinee at 1 p.m. at Frisco ISD Memorial Stadium.