2014 Liberty Football Preview

2014 Liberty Leopards’ Football Preview
2013 Record: 7-4 (6-1), AAC National Division
Head Coach: Kevin Cylar, 2nd season (7-4)
Division: 5
Last Trip to Post-Season: 2013
School Playoff Record: 5-7
Last League Title: 2013, co-champs
5-Year Winning Percentage: 39.6%

2014 Schedule
Aug. 30 at Cleveland VASJ, 7
Sept. 5 – at Niles, 7
Sept. 12 – Crestview, 7
Sept. 19 – at Champion, 7
Sept. 26 – at LaBrae, 7
Oct. 3 – Jefferson, 7
Oct. 10 – at Campbell, 7
Oct. 17 – Girard, 7
Oct. 24 – at Newton Falls, 7
Oct. 31 – Lakeview, 7

Returning Statistical Leaders
Rushing Yards: Lynn Bowden, 1427
Passing Yards: Lynn Bowden, 64
Receiving Yards: Lynn Bowden, 116
Tackles: Jashaun Whitman, 49
Quarterback Sacks: Aaron Duncan, 1.0

Year in Review: The Leopards played their fair share of close contests in 2013. Liberty finished 3-3 in games decided by 9 points or less including both battles with Crestview. The Leopards displayed a special type of resolve playing under first-year coach Kevin Cylar. LHS fell in their opener on the road at Salem, 27-25. However, the team rebounded to defeat Niles (42-33) and to knock off LaBrae (29-6) and their arch rival Girard Indians at Arrowhead Stadium (40-39) on October 11.

The leader of the team last fall was Asim Pleas. He threw for 501 yards (10 TDs) and ran for another 869 (9 TDs). Pleas ends his career as a 1500-yard passer (1522 yards, 19 TDs) and a 1100-yard rusher (1132 yards, 14 TDs) for his career. The future is bright in Liberty for last season’s freshman sensation Lynn Bowden. He displayed the characteristics of a game-breaking standout in his first season on the varsity level. He gained 1,607 total offensive yards from scrimmage (1427 rushing/64 passing/116 receiving) during the regular season. Bowden also returned 3 kickoffs for a touchdown on only 7 attempts (59.1 average).

Coach Cylar’s group will travel to Cleveland VASJ on Saturday, August 30 to open the 2014 campaign.

2013 Team Leaders
Points Scored Per Game: 31.1 (14th in Area)
Rushing Offense: 270.9
Passing Offense: 60.2
Points Allowed Per Game: 21.3 (25th in Area)
Rushing Defense: 153.2
Passing Defense: 110.0

3 Things to Watch in Liberty
Bowden added a new dimension.
Sophomore Lynn Bowden may have been overshadowed a bit last year by his Trumbull county counterpart (L.J. Scott) but #6 is en route to having another special campaign in 2014. Bowden scored 18 touchdowns and 6 two-point conversions as a freshman.

Point totals and yardage amounts continue to soar.
Liberty was able to register their highest scoring average (31.1) since 2007 (31.7). The total yardage production soared from 281.4 in 2012 to 331.1 last fall. It was only three years ago (2011) that the Leopards were only able to manage 174.9 yards of total offense and score 9 points per outing.

Effort on defense has been noticed.
Over the past three years, Liberty fans have seen the opposing offense’s score less and less. In 2010, their foes averaged 28.7 points. Fast forward to last year and they were able to score 21.3. Also, this is the same unit which permitted opposing offenses to rack up 327 total yards of offense in 2011. Last fall, they allowed 263 yards per game. The defense returns senior linebackers Alexander Carnathan (44 tackles) and Dray Ranalli (19 tackles) along with junior defensive back Jashaun Whitman (49 tackles) and linebacker Aaron Duncan (26 tackles).

Recent Leaders
Passing Yards
2013: Asim Pleas – 501*
2012: Asim Pleas – 901
2011: Michael Moamis – 409
2010: Charles Perdue – 253
2009: Nick Mattocks – 458

Rushing Yards
2013: Lynn Bowden – 1427*
2012: Sherron Walls – 1866
2011: Sherron Walls – 744
2010: Charles Perdue – 944
2009: Charles Perdue – 615

Receiving Yards
2013: Danny Markulin – 172*
2012: John Helms – 481
2011: Doan McKinney – 250
2010: Jamal Daniel – 111
2009: DeAndrey Abron – 238

Punting Average
2013: Lynn Bowden – 38.7*
2012: DJ Hight – 37.0
2011: Michael Moamis – 28.7
2010: Jaylen Mann – 31.5
2009: Antonio Kinard – 32.9

Interceptions
2013: Asim Pleas – 3*
2012: Asim Pleas & Danny Markulin – 4
2011: Frank Bond – 3
2010: Doan McKinney – 2
2009: Antonio Kinard – 3

Tackles
2013: Tyler Brady – 83.5*
2012: Tyrell Jethrow – 121.5
2011: Doan McKinney – 69
2010: Luka Markulin – 69
2009: Antonio Kinard – 85

Quarterback Sacks
2013: Jordan Walker – 7.5*
2012: Cody BuCher – 6.0
2011: Tyler Koleck – 3.5
2010: Tyler Koleck – 2.5
2009: Justin Stewart – 2.5
*-Regular Season Stats

Fact Finder: Liberty has won more games over the last two years (16) than they had in back-to-back seasons since 2005-06 (21)…The Leopards have dropped three of their last four season opening contests…Liberty has put together impressive Septembers and Octobers in recent memory. In September, they’ve won seven of their last eight and in month that follows the Leps have been victorious in six of their last eight. The haunting month wasn’t so kind to Liberty prior to 2012 as they lost 13 straight games in the 10th month on the calendar.

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