Despite a strong 4th quarter performance, the Red Devils came up short against the Chapman Panthers, with a final score of 54 to 7 Friday Night at the 1st round of the SCHSL 3A State Playoffs. It was a chilly evening as Chapman began scoring early, with a 43 yard pass from Mikele Colasurdo to Dashun Mitchell. Chapman would score 2 more times in the first quarter, including a 10 yard pass from Colasurdo to Walt Waddell and a 27 yard run from Brandon Jones. Chapman would score 3 times in the second quarter, featuring an 8 yard run from Dante Smith, a 39 yard pass from Colasurdo to Ben Rollins, and a 23 yard pass from Drew Settle to Dashun Mitchell. Carlos Parks from Chapman had the only score in the third quarter, with a 4 yard rushing touchdown late in the 3rd. Chapman scored one last time in the fourth quarter with an 8 yard run from Carlos Parks. Liberty finally managed to get on the board during a late game rally, featuring a 30 yard pass from EJ Stafford to Carter Smith.
Chapman had a dominating performance on both sides of the ball, featuring 246 net yards rushing, and 254 net yards passing, adding up to 500 total offensive yards and 19 first downs. They were good for 4 of 6 third down conversions. Mikele Colasurdo was the lead passer for the Panthers, with 11 completions off of 15 attempts and 1 interception. He threw for 166 yards and 3 touchdowns, and a longest pass of 43 yards. Drew Settle threw 5 completions from 6 attempts for 88 total yards and 1 touchdown, with the longest pass being 51 yards. Carlos Park was the leading rusher with 91 net yards, 2 rushing touchdowns, and a longest run of 24 yards, averaging 13 yards per carry. Brandon Jones had 67 net yards, 1 rushing touchdown, and a longest run of 20 yards, averaging 9.6 yards per carry. Dashun Mitchell was the lead receiver for the Panthers, with 102 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns, having a longest reception of 43 yards. Ben Rollins had 48 receiving yards, and 1 touchdown, having a longest reception of 43 yards. Chapman Kicker Ricky Montalvo had 8 kickoffs for 393 yards, with an average of 49.1 yards per kick. Jake Cothran had a missed 35 yard field in the 4th Quarter.
The highlight of Liberty’s night came from starting quarterback EJ Stafford who crossed the 1000 yard milestone for the season, passing 108 yards for the evening with a longest pass of 30 yards, totaling 1035 yards at the end of his junior season. He also had 7 completions out of 13 attempts for 1 touchdown, 1 sack, and 2 interceptions. Carter Hair was the leading rusher for the Red Devils, carrying 24 net rushing yards with the longest rush being 11 yards, averaging 6 yards per carry. Shaimaine Jamison had 7 net rushing yards, with 8 yards being the longest. Carter Smith was the lead receiver with 44 yards, 1 touchdown and a longest reception of 30 yards. Carter Hair had 29 yards receiving, Alex Riddle had 19 yards receiving, and Aaron Spruill had 16 yards receiving. Austin Epps returned 3 kickoffs for 54 yards, 23 yards being the longest. Shaimaine Jamison had 2 kickoff returns for 12 yards, 8 yards being the longest. Alexis Holliday had 1 kickoff for 12 yards, and an extra point. Luke Terry was the lead tackler, with 5 solo tackles. David Patterson had 3 tackles, including one tackle for a loss of 3 yards. In total, Liberty had 25 rushing yards, and 108 passing yards, 133 total yards on offense.
Liberty had the most time of possession with 30:40. Chapman had a time of possession of 17:20. Liberty had a total of 5 first downs. Chapman had a total of 19 first downs.
Despite the rough ending to the season, Coach Kyle Stewart remained proud of his Red Devils. “We obviously wished for a closer game, but I want to give credit to Chapman who has a solid program and has been in playoff contention for a couple of years now. I’m proud of our guys for fighting through the entire game, especially for the effort in the 4th quarter that resulted in a touchdown. We had a lot of guys playing on both sides of the ball this year. We asked them to step out past their comfort zone and they definitely showed effort on the field. I want to give a shoutout to EJ (Stafford) for crossing the 1000 mark in passing this year. I’m very proud of our freshmen and sophomores who stepped up this year. Not having a JV team certainly hurt us but they all stepped up and grew up a lot this season. I want to thank the seniors for their leadership and effort these past 4 years. We now get to go into the offseason and really turn our focus to recruiting, trying to get some more guys from our school to come help us out next year.”
The Red Devils finish the season 3-8. Chapman will continue in the playoffs this Friday, hosting Newberry in the second round.