DELAYED BUT NOT DENIED — Redskins Rely On Defense in 21-12 Win
by Earl WattLiberal’s Alan Marquez breaks through a hole against the Ulysses defense Friday in the first half. Marquez had 20 carries for 132 yards for the Redskins in a 21-12 win.
ULYSSES — Clinging to an eight-point lead midway through the fourth quarter, the Liberal Redskin defense needed to get a stop after the Ulysses Tigers marched the ball to midfield with a chance to tie the game.
They got it, and the stop led to a 21-12 Redskin win in the season opener.
Only needing a yard on fourth down, the Tigers handed the ball to Alonso Martinez, but the Redskins poured through the line and met him two yards behind the line of scrimmage, starting with Sergio Chavez and followed by Francisco Terrazas, Elwin Trejo and a host of others, and the Redskin took over with six minutes to play in the fourth quarter.
Clinging to a 14-6 lead, Liberal started to work on the clock, but a first down was negated by a penalty, and the Redskins punted. But another penalty against the Redskins forced a second punt attempt on fourth-and-17, but a low snap to Cesar Burciaga forced him to scramble, and he broke free from a hoard of Tigers in the backfield and squirted to sideline for a 27-yard run and a Redskin first down.
But Liberal could only move the ball five yards on the next three plays, and with 2 minutes to play, Liberal faced another fourth down.
After handing the ball off to Alan Marquez to the left most of the night, Syris Dunlap faked the hand off and kept the ball on a naked bootleg around the right side, breaking free for the first down and galloping 23 yards to the end zone that gave the Redskins a 21-6 lead.
The touchdown turned out to be vital.
Ulysses put Devon Walker a quarterback, and the junior marched the Tigers 80 yards in a minute and 20 seconds, completing four passes and taking advantage of two pass interference calls, and a 19-yard touchdown pass to Sloan Hayden with 1.5 seconds to play brought the Tigers to 21-12.
Ulysses attempted a two-point conversion, but it failed, and the Redskins fielded the kickoff as time expired to defeat the Tigers for only the second time in 15 years.
But for first-year head coach Jason Dunlap, that was ancient history.
“There is history, but as far as me and this new Redskins history, our slate was clean,” Dunlap said. “We’re 1-0.”
Liberal trailed most of the first half 6-0 until Kris Workman intercepted a pass late in the second quarter, and Dunlap completed back-to-back passes on third and fourth downs including an 18-yard pass for a touchdown to Jett Brown, and Liberal tied the game 6-6.
Then, a two-hour weather delay kept the teams off the field until 10:30 p.m.
“This was new to us,” Dunlap said. “It happened in the Liberal and Ulysses game before, for sure. But this was a first for us. Everything for us is new. Everything old is no longer here. This is us, a new Redskins, a new way of doing things. We never really had a chance to practice for this. I’ll put it into my practice plans for the rest of my career, but you worry about being flat, injuries, kids don’t have the same emotion as you start a game. We lost a couple kids due to injury. We have a man down, who’s next?”
For Dunlap, winning the first game of the season was just a first step in building the Redskins to a contender.
“This was the next step for us,” he said. “We expect to win every game we play. Whether we do is yet to be seen. Every coach is preparing the same way. You don’t prepare to lose. You hope for the best, hope your kids are prepared.”
Ulysses 0-1 will travel to Hugoton who lost Friday's home non-conference game against Lakin (KS) in overtime by a score of 28-20.