Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013 | 11:55 p.m.
It seems like the first two games of the season against out-of-state competition helped the Liberty Patriots find their offensive identity.
The Patriots are going to be a little more pass-oriented than before, and it was on full display in a 35-8 victory over the Silverado Skyhawks.
“We have a lot of talented kids at receiver and running back,” Liberty coach Rich Muraco said. “We played these first few games, and we realized what we’re good at.”
Quarterback Tyler Newman threw for 226 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions on 10-of-16 passing to lead the Patriots.
Liberty receiver Deseon McQuaig caught four passes for 131 yards with three touchdowns, including two in the second half.
It’s a different type of offense than most are used from Liberty, which for the last few seasons — behind the graduated duo of Niko Kapeli and Kai Nacua — was mostly a run-oriented offense.
“We decided to open it up a little more this year,” Muraco said. “Tyler Newman has done an amazing job at reading defenses and being accurate with his throws. We have confidence in him.”
While Liberty was going to the air, Silverado decided to use its size to an advantage.
The Skyhawks were able to dominate the ball control in the second half with run plays.
Silverado rushed the ball 54 times for 162 yards, led by Jarret Alipio with 70 yards.
The Skyhawks were able to move the ball on the Patriots, getting into the red zone on a handful of occasions.
“Silverado is humongous. They took the same approach we used to use the first few years,” Muraco said. “Get three, four yards at a time.”
Once Silverado got inside the 20, however, Liberty’s defense kept them out of the end zone on all but one occasion.
“Defensively, we did a better job at making them go a lot of plays and we were able to stiffen when they got into the 20,” Muraco said. “Our defense was bend but don’t break tonight.”
The run-first game plan limited Liberty’s offense to just nine plays in the second half.
But even the nine plays might have been too many as the Patriots (1-2) were able to score three touchdowns — all Newman touchdown passes of 45 yards or more — in the second half.
The Patriots return to playing out of state competition with a game against Hamilton (Ariz.) on Sept. 20.
“We wanted to put the kids where they had to play close to perfect to win games,” Muraco said.
Paul Delos Santos can be reached at 990-2416 or mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Paul on Twitter at twitter.com/pauliedelos.