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Liberty gets in front early, takes down Campbell, 44-19

September 29, 2012
By MIKE McLAIN - Tribune Chronicle ( , Underthelights

CAMPBELL - No one saw this one coming, with the possible exception of Liberty Leopards coach Brian Jones.

The Campbell Memorial Red Devils seemed like a good match for the Leopards Friday in a National Division game of the All-American Conference. Both entered play with a 2-0 conference record, with each getting wins over LaBrae and Jefferson.

It seemed like a fair fight until the game began. The Leopards scored three unanswered touchdowns in the early going and cruised to a 44-19 win at Campbell Memorial Stadium.

Article Photos

Liberty's John Helms, left, makes a catch after getting behind Campbell defensive back Corey Hamilton. Helms scored a touchdown on the play. For the Tribune Chronicle / Dave Dermer

"I wouldn't say surprised," Jones said of the lopsided score. "We prepared hard all week and had a good week of practice. We knew that we were capable of it. If you're capable of it is one thing, but the second thing is you actually have to go out and execute.

"I don't want to take anything away from Campbell. They were a challenge for us, and we're happy to get out of here with a win."

The Leopards improved to 5-1. The Devils are 3-3.

Liberty took advantage of sloppy play by Campbell, which fumbled six times (losing two). One of the fumbles was recovered by Dontre Adams in the end zone for a touchdown. John Helms returned a Devils' punt for a touchdown, and the Leopards added a safety when a snap out of punt formation sailed out of bounds.

Campbell actually had a 249-195 advantage in yards. Most of the damage was done after both coaches began emptying their benches when the Leopards stretched their lead to 44-6 lead at the 5:00 mark of the third quarter.

About the only problem encountered by the Leopards came on their first possession, which resulted in a three-and-out. Their next possession produced a 14-play, 82-yard drive that ended with a 16-yard touchdown run by quarterback Asim Pleas.

"That first possession is always a difficult one because we want to see how they're going to attack us and what their game plan is versus our personnel,"

Jones said. "We just made an adjustment that we thought we could take advantage of, and it worked for us."

Pleas rushed for 36 yards, passed for 60 and one touchdown and had an interception that led to a touchdown and a 28-6 halftime lead.

"We got on top of them early," Pleas said. "Campbell is a good team. We did a good job practicing the whole week. We came in level-headed, humble and we got the win."

The Leopards' defense took control after Pleas' touchdown, scoring when Adams fell on a fumble by quarterback Brandon Reyes late in the first quarter. The Devils were backed up to their 1-yard line on a punt by D.J. Height on the play prior to the score.

The rout took shape when Helms went 69 yards for a touchdown on a punt return in the second period. The Devils then marched 61 yards on 12 plays to score on a 3-yard run by Charles Smith, but Pleas' interception set up a 37-yard scoring run by Sherron Walls with 1:11 remaining in the second quarter.

The safety early in the third period extended Liberty's lead to 30-6. On the first play after the kick off by the Devils, Pleas hit a wide open Helms on a 40-yard touchdown pass.

"We were running it and running it and the defense got used to the run," Pleas said. "Then we opened up with a pass, and we got a big one."

Reyes lost another fumble on the first play of the possession after the touchdown pass. The Leopards turned the miscue into a 3-yard scoring run by Walls, who rushed for 96 yards on 20 carries.

The Devils scored on a 1-yard run by Reyes and a 1-yard run by Brandon Jackson in the fourth quarter.

Liberty hosts Girard Friday. Campbell is at Champion the same night.