F-M Liberty passes by Lakes Area
FRAZEE -- The Fargo-Moorhead Liberty rode the arm of their star quarterback Tony Stauss en route to a 55-21 throttling of the Lakes Area Screaming Eagles.
The Eagles' defense had a hard time containing the strong-armed Stauss, who was 23-37 for 348 yards and most impressively -- five touchdowns.
"We had plays were we were so close of making a play, but we were just short most of the time," said Lakes Area head coach and quarterback Jason McCloskey. "But they are stacked and have lots of speed."
McCloskey had a couple of nice touchdown passes, both to his favorite and most reliable target in wide receiver Mike Christensen.
The speedy receiver hauled in scoring passes of 25 and 21-yards -- both acrobatic nabs in heavy traffic.
"The joke this year has been I make most of my catches with guys draped on me," said Christensen, who never played football in high school, instead soccer and hockey. "The first touchdown the defensive back had his hands on the ball and if bounced off his facemask and I just grabbed it.
"The second one I was able to jump up in front of the defender and get it."
McCloskey said Christensen's usual antics of catching his touchdowns up and over defenders have become a norm. "Mike is an athlete and he has the ability to go up and get the ball," he added. "He is just a focused player and I hope he wants to return next year."
The Liberty opened the game up with a 26-point second quarter, which was started on a pick six by Ryan Drinkwater's eight-yard interception return for the TD and 19-7 lead.
It was all downhill from there for the home-team Eagles.
Stauss remained on fire, hitting various receivers on quick out-routes and slant patterns, as the Liberty receivers made a living with yards after the catch.
Stauss' accuracy and the height and speed of the Lib-erty receivers were key to the team's 33-7 halftime lead. The quarterback -- who was the starting QB at NDSU -- was 19-27 for 250 yards and four touchdowns by halftime.
Newly-added running back Chauncey Ames capped the Screaming Eagles' scoring on an impressive tight-rope run down the Lakes Area sideline for a 39-yard TD rush in the fourth quarter.
"It would have been nice to have Chauncey earlier in the season," McCloskey said of the shifty RB.
The game also marked the end of a long and illustrious semi-pro football career for lineman DJ Stone.
He officially retired after the game, thus ending a good 11-year career. Stone was still considered one of the top linemen -- both offensive and defensive -- in the league.
"I love going out knowing I was better than most of the players still in the league," Stone said. "I've forged a lot of bonds with players you never will lose. But it's hard walking away."
McCloskey, who talked Stone out of retirement for one more go-around this sea-son for the upstart Screaming Eagles, played with the line-man for five of those 11 years.
"I'll miss him for sure," McCloskey added.
The 1-8 Screaming Eagles will wrap up the season against rival Willmar on the Frazee High School Football Field Saturday, beginning at 5 p.m.
Screaming Eagles results
Fargo-Moorhead at Lakes Area in Frazee, Saturday, July 26.
Liberty 55, Screaming Eagles 21
F-M - 7 26 13 9 -- 55
Eagles - 7 0 0 14 -- 21
FM - Nick Jackson 12-yard pass from Tony Stauss; No. 35 kick. 8:43, 1st quarter.
LA - Mike Christensen 21-yard pass from Jason McCloskey; Christensen kick. 1:05, 1st.
FM - Wyndell Mathis 1-yard pass from Stauss; pass failed. 12:32, 2nd.
FM - Mike Bryant 8-yard interception return; kick failed. 7:58, 2nd.
FM - Bert Smith 7-yard pass from Stauss; No. 35 kick. 2:59, 2nd.
FM - Smith 6-yard pass from Stauss; No. 35 kick. :22, 2nd.
FM - Jackson 3-yard run; kick failed; 11:13, 3rd.
FM - Baron Smart 61-yard pass from Stauss; No. 35 kick. 3:59, 3rd.
LA - Christensen 25-yard pass from McCloskey; Christensen kick. 8:27, 4th.
FM - Jeremiah Duvall and Lonzale Hill safety on McCloskey. 4:28, 4th.
FM - No. 41 17-yard run; No. 35 kick. 2:38, 4th.
LA - Chauncey Ames 39-yard run; Christensen kick. :54, 4th.
First Downs 8 18
By Rushing 6 4
By passing 2 14
By penalty 0 0
Net Yards Rushing 107 81
No. rushes 27 20
Yards gained 160 88
Yards lost 53 7
Net Yards Passing 95 348
No. passes 24 37
Completed 10 23
Incomplete 12 12
Had intercepted 2 2
Interception yards 0 31
Total Offensive Plays 58 61
TOTAL NET YARDS 202 429
Kickoffs 5 9
Yards 120 357
Ave. kickoff 24 39.7
Kickoffs Returned 9 2
Yards 130 51
Ave. return 14.4 25.5
Fumbles 4 0
Fumbles lost 0 0
Penalties 3 5
Yards 34 45
* * *
Lakes Area --
Player NR YG YL Net
Chauncey Ames 2 46 0 46
Anthony Carpenter 8 46 1 45
Kyler Wegner 9 58 24 34
Jason McCloskey 8 10 28 (-18)
Bert?Smith 5 41 2 39
Rockenel Jeanbaptiste 5 27 0 27
Sunny Dahl 6 26 1 25
No. 41 1 17 0 17
Nick Jackson 3 3 4 (-1)
* * *
Player No Comp Inc Int Yds TD
Lakes Area --
McCloskey 24 10 12 2 95 2
Tony Stauss 37 23 12 2 348 5