continued “(Playing with West) kind of gives me a break,” Hicks said. “But it also motivates me, because it’s kind of both of us going at it to see who can do the best.”
That motivation soon produced results. After Liverpool tailback Jeff Edwards scored his first of three TD’s on the day on a pitch wide right, Hicks trotted out to return the ensuing kickoff.
Making a graceful, over-the-shoulder grab at his own 7, he spun right and took off upfield. Hicks shot through a group of blockers, cut right around midfield and broke for the sideline. Sheer speed and a lengthy stride carried him the rest of the way.
“I expect our seniors to lead us from the beginning,” Kline said of West and Hicks. “Once we start going, the young guys will pick up.”
And they did. After Scott had to be pulled from the game with a hand injury, sophomore Romero Collier filled in seamlessly.
He answered back-to-back Liverpool touchdowns, finding wide receiver Brandon Wilbur curling into the middle of the end zone to put Henninger ahead 26-21with 20 seconds left in the first half. Collier finished 12-of-19 for 153 yards and two touchdowns, tallying 75 yards on the ground as well.
Liverpool answered with 2:02 left in the third quarter when quarterback Justin Capoto found Edwards, the shifty 5-foot-9, 165-pound back on a screen from hisown 45. Fifty-five yards later, Edwards had his third TD, and Liverpool suddenly had a 27-26 lead.
“He’s not a real fast back, but he’s got great vision and his legs just keep moving and moving so he always gives you a chance when the ball’s in his hands,” Liverpool head coach David Mancuso said.
But for every blow Edwards delivered, West and Hicks responded with some of their own.
Following a Liverpool three-and-out, West took a punt back to the house from his own 25, escaping the last of the trailing Warriors just a few yards from the goal line.