Reeling from four consecutive defeats, the Liverpool football team knew that, unless it won last Friday at Nottingham, its hopes of reaching the Section III Class AA playoffs would be gone.
Desperation led to an all-out effort against the Bulldogs, and it took the defense recording 10 points in the second half for the Warriors to pull out a 31-22 victory.
With the score tied 8-8 in the third quarter, Liverpool pinned Nottingham deep in its own territory, and Nas Johnson was able to record a safety to put the Warriors in front. The game was still in doubt when, in the fourth quarter, Antwan Kelly intercepted an Andre Robinson pass and returned it 24 yards for a touchdown.
Throughout the game, Liverpool’s defense made crucial plays, whether it was Kaleb Ohlemacher earning an interception or Jacob Barnes forcing a pair of fumbles. It meant less work for the Warriors’ offense, who still had some bright moments.
Cade Clouthier, who had 24 carries for 92 yards, scored Liverpool’s lone TD in the first half on a one-yard plunge in the opening period. Nottingham answered it with Jadda Brown’s two-yard scoring plunge in the second period.
Unable to do much through the air, the Warriors mostly relied on its ground game. Clouthier’s tough yards helped to set up a pair of TD’s from Ohlemacher – one in the third quarter, the other in the fourth quarter.
That would help fend off a Nottingham side that scored twice in the final period on a pair of Robinson TD passes to Malcolm Nelson, one covering 46 yards, the other going 22 yards.
As things are set up, only a win over Auburn this Friday at LHS Stadium will guarantee the Warriors a sectional berth as the fourth-place finisher in the AA-2 division, which would mean a first-round playoff game against the top seed from the AA-1 division, which could be Central Square or CBA.