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Carter's big play sparks Liberty past Campbell

Leopards' Bowden runs for 162, two scores

October 5, 2013
Tribune Chronicle ( , Underthelights

LIBERTY - Just as Campbell started to find its way back into an All-American Conference, National Division battle with Liberty, the Leopards' DaQuan Carter decided it was time to make a play for his coach.

The momentum had shifted thanks to a 25-yard pass from Campbell quarterback Stephan Elash that set the Red Devils up at the 2-yard line. Elash punched it in on the next play to cut the lead to seven with 21 seconds remaining in the first half.

Then came the ensuing kickoff.

"I was actually thinking about reversing it to Lynn (Bowden) before the kick, but then I said, 'Never mind, I got this. I'm going to take this back for coach Kev (Kevin Cylar),' " said Carter, a senior captain for the Leopards. "And the next thing you know, I took it back. After that, (Campbell) put their heads down."

Carter returned the kick 91 yards for a touchdown that deflated Campbell, and Liberty dominated the second half in a 41-15 victory on homecoming.

Bowden and quarterback Asim Pleas powered the Leopards' offense from start to finish. Bowden, a freshman, ran for 164 yards on 21 carries. He scored on touchdown runs of 62 and 46 - both in the first half. Pleas ran for 88 yards and one touchdown on 13 carries. He also threw a 6-yard TD pass to Danny Markulin.

The Leopards (4-2, 2-0) shut out the Red Devils (1-5, 0-2) in the second half.

"Defensively, we got more physical," said Carter, a starting linebacker on defense. "We were after the ball and we had better pursuit. We got all the mistakes over with in the first half."

Pleas scored from 16 yards out on Liberty's first drive of the third quarter, and Brandon Rios bulled his way through several would-be tacklers on a 23-yard TD run that put the game out of reach.

Campbell hosts Champion on Friday, while Liberty travels down the street to face crosstown rival Girard.

"It's a real big game because it's always going to be a fight, no matter how good or bad the teams are," Carter said. "We need to have a good week of practice."