Liberty defense shines in Spring game

Flames defense wins 66-50

Lynchburg, Va. – Flames Nation came out in full force to get their first look at Liberty’s team under first-year head coach Jamey Chadwell during a sun-drenched Saturday afternoon at Williams Stadium.

Utilizing a unique scoring system created by the coaching staff, Liberty’s white-clad defenders edged its red-shirted offensive counterparts, 66-50.

The offense received points for 20-yard passes, 15-yard run plays, first downs and fourth-down conversions. The defense added to its point total with fumble recoveries, interceptions, three-and-out series, sacks and tackles for a loss.

Chadwell’s renowned multiple-back offense scored on the game’s opening drive. Wake Forest transfer running back Quinton Cooley capped the opening drive with a one-yard touchdown run.

The defense started to settle in following the opening drive, getting sacks and tackles for a loss from several different players like linebacker Jerome Jolly, Jr., defensive tackle Kendy Charles, safety A’Khori Jones and defensive lineman Khristian Zachary.

The highlight reel defensive play of the day came just before halftime when defensive back Brandon Bishop stepped in front of a sideline pass from Johnathan Bennett. The Louisiana transfer returned the pick to the opposite end of the field, leaping over the barriers at the 20-yard line into the crowd that was gathered on the South side of the field.

The final touchdown of the first half came from quarterback Kaidon Salter who found tight end Bentley Hanshaw in the back of the end zone on a 20-yard touchdown play.

During halftime of the scrimmage, Chadwell spoke to the crowd, thanking them for their support today and throughout the spring, The first-year head coach also added the team’s most improved players at each position during the spring, including punter Max Morgan, who learned he would be put on full scholarship following his stellar performance.

Most Improved Players:

Quarterback – Nate Hampton

Running Back – Vaughn Blue

Wide Receiver – Treon Sibley

Tight End – Bentley Hanshaw

Offensive Lineman – Chase Mitchell

Defensive Lineman – Chris Boti

Joker – Donovan Dozier

Linebacker – Joe Carter

Star – Elijah Auguste

Safety – Jaylon Jimmerson

Cornerback – Dexter Ricks, Jr.

Specialist – Max Morgan

The second half of the scrimmage featured two 10-minute running clock periods to cap the festive afternoon. Arkansas transfer running back James Jointer, Jr., spotlight play during the rapid periods, scoring on a five-yard touchdown run.

Following the scrimmage, Chadwell and Liberty’s full team remained on the field for an autograph session, thrilling the gathered crowd.

The Flames will now turn their attention to summer workouts and their preparation for their first season in Conference USA. Liberty opens its season on September 2 at home against Bowling Green.