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Liberty beats Willow 44-7 in district opener

It was a cool and drizzly night when the Willow Springs Bears visited Liberty in the opening round of district play. Both teams seemed to struggle with footing in the sloppy conditions. 
Willow was able to cut the Liberty lead to 22-7 early in the third quarter, but the Eagles pulled away to a 44-7 victory. 
The Eagles started fast when their opening kick found a gap in the Bear return team. The Eagles were able to snag the ball and take possession deep in Bear territory. A few plays later Carter Pruett tossed a 17-yard touchdown pass to Tanner Ripko for the Eagle lead. 
After a Willow three-and-out, it was Eagle Drew Ripko finding the end zone from 39 yards out on another Pruett pass. The Pruett conversion made the score 16-0 Liberty. 
Ryan Koehler from the Bears put an end to Liberty's next possession when he nabbed an interception and returned it to the Eagle 19. The Liberty defense held, however, and Willow turned it over on downs. 
Liberty scored again with 8:39 to go in the second quarter. This time Noah Jester got loose in the Bear secondary. Pruett found him open for the 21-yard strike.  
The rest of the half went scoreless. Kal Acklin from the Eagles stopped one Bear drive with a contested interception. The ensuing Liberty possession was halted by a Micah Stetina sack on the fourth down for the Bears. 
Willow Springs seemed to get something going to start the third quarter. Ryan Friga picked off a Liberty pass. A few plays later, Taylor Rothermich punched it in from 15 yards out to bite into the Eagles lead 22-7, after the Tommy Sidorovich kick. 
Liberty's Pruett put an end to the Willow momentum as he danced his way in from 30 yards out moments later. 
A Drew Ripko interception and two more Pruett touchdown runs would seal the deal for the Eagles. 
For the Willow Springs Bears, their season comes to an end with a final record of 2-8. There were ups and downs, but the future is bright for the Bears with Head Coach Joel Wyatt at the helm.
Liberty will travel to Forsyth for a district semi-final matchup this Friday. The Eagles will look to extend their season, as they take on the #2 seed Panthers. 
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