As week six of the high school football season comes to an end, we look at an exciting rivalry matchup between the Liberty Lions, led by head coach Ryan Partridge, and the Freedom Falcons. This is known as the 'Bell Game' and has a rich history of high scoring outputs. The Lions were able to pull out the victory with a score of 55-21, which also kept their undefeated season alive!
Pre-game, Partridge was confident in his game plan. "We were going to run the ball at them," he recounted. "We played them twice last year and found most of our success running the ball, so we were going to stick with it." That ended up being a great option for the Lions as they racked up more than 330 yards rushing, 285 of which came from star running back, Tyerell Sturges-Cofer.
As the game unfolded, it was a back and forth battle for both teams, each scoring 21 points in the first half. "We needed to get the ball in our playmakers hands, and keep pounding the run game," Partridge said. "We only completed 6 passes but had over 270 yards in the air, so our playmakers were exceptional."
The Lions came out in the third quarter with reckless abandon. They held possession first and on the third play of the drive, Sturges-Cofer took a hand-off 66 yards for a touchdown. "We came out of the gates hot; Tyerell was ready to go and our defense was lights out," Partridge said. "The defensive line was unbelievable. They played out of their minds. I think we forced them to minus 10 yards on offense in the third quarter."
When discussing his defense, Partridge said, "We had seven sacks on the night. Akili Calhoun, Sione Vaki, and Cody Muth played a great game. Akili held it down on the defensive line, Sione was all over the field, and Cody was exceptional on special teams." The Lions' defense was able to keep the Falcons on their toes, forcing quarterback hurries and quick throws all night.
Partridge was proud of both his offense and defense for answering the bell, but he was most excited about his team's "no quit attitude." "I really wanted to emphasize what we could do if we played a full game, how good we really can be," Partridge said. "In the last 10 games our defense has only given up 20 points total in the third quarter, so I know how good we can be."
The Lions were able to control the game in the second half, finishing the game with 34 unanswered points which led to a final score of 55-21.
Ryan Partridge has coached high school football for the last eight seasons. He started his coaching career at Dougherty Valley High School before going to Livermore High School. From there, he accepted the head coaching job at Liberty. Partridge also had a substantial football career. He played high school football at Amador Valley in Pleasanton, before earning a scholarship at the University of Kentucky and then transferring to Northern Arizona, where he finished his playing career.
When asked about receiving the Wedemeyer Memorial Coach of the Week Award Partridge said, "It's a great feeling to win this award in Coach Wedemeyer's honor. He exuded perseverance and toughness, a key component for any successful person or football team. It's an honor to receive this award."
As our Charlie Wedemeyer Memorial Coach of the Week presented by U.S. Bank, Coach Partridge will receive a $1,000 grant for the Liberty Lions football program from the 49ers Foundation. As part of this award, he will also receive two tickets to a 49ers home game where he will be recognized on the field. Coach Partridge will also be invited to visit the SAP Performance Facility to watch a closed practice where 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan will officially present him with his award. He will also be featured on the 49ers Cal-Hi Sports Report on Sundays at 6 p.m. & 10 p.m. on NBC Sports California and re-broadcast throughout the week.
Congratulations, Coach Partridge!