DIVISION I STATE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
KEY OFFENSIVE PLAYER: Quarterback Kenyon Oblad. The sophomore has had a big season, and gets another crack at Bishop Gorman in the postseason. He was just 10-for-20 for 135 yards and one interception when the team’s met in the state semifinals last year. He’ll need a more productive game for the Patriots to stay with the Gaels this time.
KEY DEFENSIVE PLAYER: Linebacker Ka’imi Batoon. The four-year varsity player is the team’s second-leading tackler and also second in sacks. He’ll play a key role in containing Bishop Gorman quarterback Tate Martell.
X-FACTOR: Running back Stephon Stowers. The senior has just 80 carries this season, but has come on down the stretch and leads the Patriots with 710 rushing yards. He scored four touchdowns (two rushing and two passing) in Liberty’s 62-29 win over Basic in the Sunrise Region title game. Seven of his 12 TDs this season have been on plays of 27 or more yards.
KEY OFFENSIVE PLAYER: Running back Biaggio Ali Walsh. The junior has been the state’s most dominant offensive player this season, rushing for 2,187 yards and 30 touchdowns while averaging 12 yards per carry.
KEY DEFENSIVE PLAYER: Defensive tackle Haskell Garrett. The big junior controlled the line of scrimmage early in the season for the Gaels, but he went down with an injured shoulder against Don Bosco (N.J.) and missed the next four games. He came back against Reed last week and recorded two sacks, and has a team-high six on the season.
X-FACTOR: Cornerback Brendan Radley-Hiles. The sophomore has all the tools to be a lockdown corner, but he lacks experience and probably will be tested by Liberty’s spread offense. He’ll also need to help against the run when the Patriots go to their power set.
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