The Diamond Wildcats defeated the Liberal Bulldogs 34-0 Friday night in Diamond. The Wildcat defense fired on all cylinders as they applied pressure to the Liberal backfield all night.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Cats used both their ground and passing game to move the ball.
Head Coach Jimmy Dushane said, "We played well, but we can get a lot better. We need more reps on this offense. Last week and this week were the first time this team had really gotten to try this offense on new and bigger players."
The Bulldogs won the toss and chose to kick off. They onside kicked and got the ball back as Liberal's Gabe McIntire fell on the bouncing ball. The Wildcat defense gave no ground and the Bulldogs had to punt on fourth down.
Diamond’s Brodie Bien connected with Tanner Paradies for 17 yards on the first play, but ended up turning the ball over on downs to end the first series. Again, the Bulldogs went nowhere and punted, leaving Diamond with the ball on its own eight-yard line. Diamond drove down the field for its first score on a three-yard run by Bien.
The Wildcats covered the 92 yards for the score using nine plays and eating 2:50 off the clock. Diamond mixed up the playbook, as it got 69 of the yards on the ground and 23 through the air.
Diamond's Zach Renfro gained 57 of the 69 yards, including an outside run for 44 yards. Diamond picked up a two-point conversion and took an eight-point lead with 2:51 left in the first quarter.
Both teams pushed each other in a stalemate until there was 6:52 on the clock in the second quarter. At that moment Bien crossed the goal line on a four-yard run following a 42-yard run by Renfro. Liberal's Garret Miller blocked the extra point and the Wildcats had to settle for six points.
After the half, both teams took the field and struggled to find the end zone. Liberal's best chance to score came with 5:50 in the quarter when it recovered a fumble on Diamond's 5-yard line, but ended up turning the ball over on downs on the Wildcats 17-yard line.
Diamond put together another impressive drive and moved the ball 83 yards for its third score. This time Evan Moreland, lined up at quarterback, connected with Paradies for 27 yards and the score with 1:50 remaining in the third quarter. After a failed two-point conversion, Liberal took possession of the ball and turned it over to Diamond as the Wildcats Jake Goad intercepted a Tucker Dermott pass and ran 30 yards for a touchdown with 1:27 left in the quarter.
It was another 12 minutes before the ball crossed the goal line, when Logan Dewitt covered 12 yards with 1:50 left in the fourth quarter.
Diamond (1-0) will travel to Sarcoxie next week to face the Bears, who pounded McAuley 42-8 on Friday.