The Liberty Flames are leaving a trail on the football field. They are also living up to their name. The Flames are nearly unbeatable at home and the ODU Monarchs were their latest conquest. The team from Lynchburg is taking names as they burn through the first three games of their schedule.
In this showdown of Commonwealth opponents, the ODU Monarchs traveled up to Lynchburg hoping to upend the Flames and add a second victory in as many weeks to their season. The Flames have a great homefield advantage in Williams Stadium, having gone undefeated at home during the 2020 season.
It did not take long for the Flames to get on the scoreboard and have ODU playing catch up for the entire evening. QB Malik Willis, one of the best quarterbacks in the country, was the catalyst for the Flames scoring the first 14 points of the game. Willis completed a 14-yard pass play to CJ Daniels to open the scoring in the first quarter. He then used his quick feet and clear vision to scamper into the endzone untouched from 17 yards away. The Monarchs would fight back with a field goal to cut the lead to 14-3 at the end of the first quarter.
The Flames like scoring so much that the scored another 14 points in the second quarter with Willis finding Daniels again from 33 yards out with a pass and catch to take a 21-3 lead. The Monarchs matched to Flames with a 1 yard bulldozing run from halfback Elijah Davis. Davis is the local legend who starred at Heritage High School. The Flames then traded touchdowns again when Malik Willis tossed his third TD of the game. This time he hit Kevin Shaa with perfectly placed pass from 38 yards away.
The Monarchs were undeterred and took momentum into the half when QB DJ Mack, Jr. found Zack Kurtz with a sweet aerial connection. From the 30 yard line, Mack dropped a pass into the hands of Kurtz who did the rest. The Monarchs were only down 28-17 and looking for more.
The highlights of the first half was all the excitement that ODU would find on the evening. As the third quarter played on, the Flames continued to do what they had done before. They scored 14 points in a quarter for the third consecutive quarter. Once again, Willis was in the middle of all the action. He tossed his fourth TD pass to Shaa, who now had two for the game. Shaa caught the short 8-yard pass to give the Flames a 35-17 lead. On their next possession, Liberty took the ball all the way to the goal line where Willis used a QB sneak to give the home crowd even more energy. The second rushing touchdown made Willis responsible for all six touchdowns on the game and the lead grew to an insurmountable 42-17.
With ODU scrambling to any find type of break or just some positive momentum, the Flames continued to be just as stingy on the defense. The Flames recorded the only turnover of the game, when ODU's last possession was a pass to linebacker Carl Poole. The Flames added a field goal as the only score in the fourth quarter wrapped up the win 45-17.
The defense limited ODU to 242 total yards, the same amount Malik Willis produced by himself. The Monarchs were led by Mack with 134 yards passing on 15 of 27 and one touchdown. Elijah Davis scored a touchdown collecting 57 yards on the ground plus four yard receiving. Kurzt led with his 34 yards receiving and one TD reception.
Willis was the player of the game with his 21-28 passing and four touchdowns. Daniels and Shaa each caught two touchdown passes.
The Flames recorded five sacks to ODU's three. Flames' DE Kendy Charles had 3 of those sacks. Liberty returns to action on Saturday in a trip to ACC member Syracuse. This is the second year in a row that the Flames (3-0) are traveling to New York. Liberty beat the 'Cuse last year. ODU (1-2) will get a chance to stay instate as they will host the Buffalo Bills next Saturday night.
The Liberty Flames made it worth the wait. The Covid-19 Pandemic had altered life in college football across the nation in the last 18 months. People, players, fans and sports enthusiast had to hope and pray and wait and see in many cases if the 2021 season would be different. The Liberty Flames made their highly anticipated start of the season and stirred up the fanbase with domination of their former Big South foe.
The Flames did not give the visiting Camels any chance to kick start their season on a good note. The Flames jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter. They owned the Camels in every aspect of the game and hit them early and often from all angles. Liberty scored in every quarter and that consistency was too much for Campbell to overcome.
Superstar QB Malik Willis, lived up to the preseason hype. Willis, who is on many players to watch list in 2021, completed 15 of 23 passes for 217 yards and 1 touchdown. The dual threat leader of the Flames, also damaged the Campbell defense with 55 yards on the ground and a touchdown rushing too.
Wilils had a chnace to lead but he was not the only player to hit paydirt for the hometeam. Joshua Bennett, the second QB to play for the Flames, matched Willis with a touchdown rushing and passing as well. He kept the momentum going and when Liberty didn't beat the Camels in the air, they grounded the Camels witha powerful rushing attack. The Flames scored five of their seven touchdowns with carries into the endzone. Five different players scored via the rushing attemps. A total of 224 yards was gained on the ground. The Flames also passed for 319 yards for a grand total of 543 yards that showcased their overwhelming effectiveness on offense for the day.
The Flames defense was just as impressive. The Camels were led by QB Hajj Malik-Willams who was leading rusher with 26 yards and passer with 182 yards. He was bottle up by a ferocious defense that kept his Camels to a total of 269 yards on the day. The other bright spot for the Camels was starting wide receiver Caleb Snead. The homegrown star from Heritage High School, was able to catch four passes for 70 yards and scored the only touchdown in the second period.
To the credit of both teams, neither team lost a turnover. In the opening game for both, there is excitement for the Flames and a chance for the Camels to bounce back and correct the mistakes from their first game lost. Liberty will continue their season with a trip to the University of Troy next week. Campbell will host Elon University in their long awaited home opener also next week.
LYNCHBURG, Va. – Liberty Athletics and ESPN have reached a new five-year extension for the exclusive media rights to Liberty’s home football games, beginning with the 2021 season through 2025.
Liberty inked its first football media rights agreement with ESPN in 2018 during the Flames’ first season at the FBS level.
This new agreement ensures that all Liberty home football games will air on an ESPN platform while guaranteeing that one game each year will air on an ESPN linear network. ESPN also has the right to choose a non-traditional day (non-Saturday) for a second linear network telecast, with all remaining games distributed on an ESPN digital platform.
During Liberty’s historic 2020 season, ESPN elevated three of the Flames’ six home telecasts to linear networks (Sept. 26 vs. FIU on ESPNU, Oct. 10 vs. ULM on ESPN2 and Nov. 14 vs. Western Carolina on ESPNU).
This new multi-year agreement is coterminous with Liberty’s bowl agreement with ESPN Events, which runs through the 2025 season.
Liberty’s 2021 season begins with home games against Campbell on Sept. 4 and Old Dominion (Sept. 18) – both of which will air on ESPN3, followed by matchups against Middle Tennessee (Oct. 9), UMass (Oct. 30), Louisiana (Nov. 20) and Army (Nov. 27) at Williams Stadium. Liberty is anticipating full capacity at Williams Stadium for the 2021 season.
“We are pleased to continue to showcase Liberty home football games exclusively on ESPN platforms in the years ahead through this multi-year extension of our rights agreement which began in 2018. The recent success of the Flames has made them one of the more intriguing programs in college football the past few seasons.” said Dan Margulis, senior director of programming and acquisitions, ESPN.
“We are extremely grateful to have such a strong relationship with ESPN,” said Liberty Director of Athletics Ian McCaw. “ESPN platforms afford Liberty the best opportunity to tell our story of the fastest rising college football program in the country to Flames Nation and beyond.”
Additionally, as part of the new agreement, Liberty’s award-winning 30-minute weekly sports show Flames Central will be available via ESPN digital platforms and the ESPN App.
The show recently won two NATAS Emmy awards from the National Capital Chesapeake Bay Chapter of The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) and has brought home a total of 10 NATAS Emmy awards in the last seven years.
Liberty has produced extensive coverage of Liberty Athletics distributed on ESPN digital platforms for nearly a decade, including more than 225 events the last two years.
A unique aspect of this agreement with ESPN is that Liberty’s own Broadcast Communications team produces content that is carried on ESPN digital platforms for each home game.
This award-winning team will continue to produce the Flames Countdown to Kickoff before each home game. The pregame show features Rett McGibbon and former Flames standouts running back Des Rice and wide receiver Pat Kelly. Matt Warner, Joe Jauch and Emily Austen return to the booth to provide Flames Nation with the best analysis and insight during the game from Williams Stadium.
Reflecting on a “Season of Firsts” in 2020
Last year, Liberty had a season of "firsts" in 2020, including the team’s first-ever national ranking, first win over an ACC opponent, the best start in school history (8-0 to start 2020), first-ever win over a top-25 FBS program and back-to-back bowl game wins.
Liberty defeated a pair of ACC foes in Syracuse and in-state opponent Virginia Tech. The two wins made Liberty the first non-Power 5 team to post a pair of wins over ACC schools in the same season since Houston in 2015.
The Flames finished the season with a 10-1 record, tying the program's record for wins in a season (Liberty finished the 2008 season with a 10-2 record).
Liberty finished the campaign ranked No. 17 in the Associated Press poll and No. 18 in the Amway Coaches Poll, the highest year-ending FBS rankings in school history.
Liberty capped off the 2020 season with a thrilling 37-34 overtime win over No. 9/11 Coastal Carolina in the Cure Bowl on Dec. 26 at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla. The win marked Liberty's first-ever victory over a FBS top-25 ranked program.
With the Cure Bowl win over its former Big South rivals, Liberty became the second transitioning team in NCAA history to win consecutive bowl games during its first two full seasons at the FBS level.
McGhee Scores 1,000 Career Points, Liberty Defeats Kennesaw State
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Liberty opened the ASUN Tournament with a matchup against the No. 8 seed, Kennesaw State, in the ASUN Quarterfinals, Thursday afternoon at UNF Arena. After being all squared at 23 at halftime, Liberty regrouped in the second half to defeat the Owls 69-59. Liberty improves to 21-5 this season and advances to the ASUN Semifinals.
Liberty started the game cold from the field, shooting 5-20 in the first 13 minutes of the game, as Kennesaw State took an early 16-10 lead. Liberty’s defense kept them in the ball game, forcing Kennesaw State to commit nine turnovers in the first half. Liberty ended the half, outscoring the Owls 13-7 to go into halftime tied at 23-23. Kennesaw State ended the half shooting 43.5 percent while Liberty struggled, shooting 28.6 percent.
Liberty’s offense picked up the pace to open the second half, going on a 16-4 run in the first seven and a half minutes of the half sparked by Kyle Rode scoring 10 of the 16 points during that run. Liberty held Kennesaw State scoreless for six minutes as Liberty extended its lead to double digits. Liberty’s offense got back on track in the latter half, shooting 62.5 percent from the field, led by Rode’s 12 second half points.
Key Stats & Notes
LYNCHBURG, Va. (WSET) — Liberty was well-recognized on the ASUN All-Conference Postseason awards, as Darius McGhee was named the ASUN Player of the Year, Elijah Cuffee was named the ASUN Defensive Player of the Year and Head Coach Ritchie McKay was named ASUN Coach of the Year. In addition, Blake Preston was named to the ASUN All-Academic Team while McGhee was a unanimous ASUN First Team All-Conference selection and Cuffee was an ASUN Second Team All-Conference honoree.
Homesley and James Named to ASUN Men’s Basketball All-Decade Team
LYNCHBURG, Va. – Liberty’s Caleb Homesley and Scottie James have been named to the 2011-20 ASUN Conference Men’s Basketball All-Decade Team, as announced today by the conference office.
Throughout the month of July, the ASUN will be recognizing each sport’s top student-athletes from the recently completed decade. Liberty spent the final year and a half of the decade as a conference member after joining the ASUN on July 1, 2018.
The Flames have quickly made their presence known in the ASUN Conference, as eight different Liberty squads have won at least one ASUN team title over the last two years. Liberty captured the 2018-19 Bill Bibb Trophy, which is awarded to the ASUN Conference institution with the top overall athletic program. During Liberty’s two years in the ASUN Conference, Homesley and James led the Flames to back-to-back ASUN Conference championships, including two NCAA Tournament berths and a pair of ASUN Regular Season titles.
Homesley was a two-year ASUN First Team All-Conference selection, including being named the 2020 ASUN Player of the Year and Tournament MVP. He averaged a career-best 15.3 points per game to go along with 5.7 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game this past season. During conference play, Homesley elevated his game to another level with 17.6 ppg, 5.8 rpg and 2.5 apg. He had eight games this season in which he scored 20 points or more, seven of which came during conference play. The Indian Trail, N.C., native concluded his career ranking No. 10 on Liberty's all-time scoring list with 1,539 career points and No. 8 on the all-time rebounding list with 703 career rebounds.
James was an ASUN First Team All-Conference selection for two straight seasons as well, including being named the ASUN Tournament MVP in 2019 when he led the Flames to their first ASUN Tournament title. James was one of the best players in school history, as he was a three-time all-conference selection and ranks No. 17 on the all-time scoring list with 1,323 career points. During his senior campaign, James ranked first in the conference in field goal percentage (60.5) while adding 10.8 points per game and a team-leading 7.4 rebounds per outing. The Tarpon Springs, Fla., native ended his career ranked fourth on the Flames' all-time rebounding list at 891 and was named to the 2019-20 Lou Henson Mid-Major All-American Team.
LYNCHBURG, Va. – The Flames placed nine players on the 2020 Phil Steele Preseason All-Independent Team, including four first-team selections.
The annual preseason publication, which will hit newsstands in the coming weeks, has released its Preseason All-Independent Team, today.
The listing features players from the seven FBS independent programs: Army, BYU, Liberty, New Mexico State, Notre Dame, UConn and UMass.
BYU led all the FBS independent programs with 14 selections, followed by 13 for Notre Dame, 11 for Army, nine for the Flames, six for New Mexico State, four for UConn and three for UMass.
Liberty’s first-team honorees on the 2020 Phil Steele Preseason All-Independent Team included defensive end TreShaun Clark, kick return specialist Shedro Louis, running back Joshua Mack and safety Javon Scruggs.
The Flames’ second-team honorees included wide receiver Demario Douglas, tight end Johnny Huntley, defensive tackle Elijah James, long snapper Austin Mock and offensive lineman Tristan Schultz.
Clark saw playing time in all 13 games as a true freshman and started the last seven contests in 2019. He finished the season with 39 tackles (25 solo, 14 assisted), 8.5 tackles for a loss (29 yards), 5.5 sacks (24 yards) and a forced fumble during his collegiate rookie season.
Louis also saw significant time on the field as a true freshman, playing in 11 games. He ranked 13th in the country in kickoff return yards, averaging 27.6 yards per return. He returned a kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown against Maine and finished the season with 662 total return yards, the sixth-best total in school history.
Mack, who sat out the 2018 season due to NCAA transfer rules, finished his first season on the field for the Flames rushing for 792 yards and seven touchdowns in 2019. He had three 100-yard games and scored a touchdown in Liberty’s win over Georgia Southern in the FBC Mortgage Cure Bowl.
Scruggs started 11 of the 12 games he saw action in during the 2019 season. The rising junior ranked fifth on Liberty’s roster with 58 tackles (32 solo, 26 assisted). He added 4.5 tackles for a loss (8 yards), three pass breakups, two interceptions and a fumble recovery.
Douglas redshirted after playing four games during the 2019 season. During his limited time on the field, the redshirt freshman had nine receptions for 136 yards, including a 31-yard touchdown catch during a road victory at UMass.
In his first playing season since transferring from Colorado and moving to a tight end role, Huntley saw playing time in 12 of the Flames’ 13 games, last year. He led all tight ends with 196 receiving yards and scored a 57-yard touchdown during Liberty’s Cure Bowl win over Georgia Southern.
James saw playing time in all 13 games during his first season with the program in 2019. He finished the year with 19 tackles (seven solo, 12 assisted) and added 1.5 tackles for a loss (three yards) along with a quarterback hurry.
Mock has served as Liberty’s starting long snapper each of the last two seasons. Last year, he worked with punter Aidan Alves, who was named to the Ray Guy Award watch list. Alves averaged more than 4.0 yards per punt longer than his freshman season (37.0 average in 2018; 41.6 average in 2019).
Schultz transitioned to left tackle in 2019, starting all 13 games. He graded out an 82.3 percent and helped the Flames record 39 pancake blocks. He was a part of an offensive line that allowed quarterback Stephen Calvert (12,025 passing yards and 93 touchdowns) and wide receiver Antonio Gandy-Golden (3,814 yards and 33 touchdowns) to finish their careers as the program’s all-time career leaders in passing and receiving statistics, respectively.
Liberty’s Selections on the 2020 Phil Steele Preseason All-Independent Team
RB – Joshua Mack
DE – TreShaun Clark
S – Javon Scruggs
KR – Shedro Louis
WR – Demario Douglas
TE – Johnny Huntley
OL – Tristan Schultz
DT – Elijah James
LS – Austin Mock
LYNCHBURG, Va. – Former Liberty Flames standout wide receiver Antonio Gandy-Golden became the eighth player in program history to be selected in the NFL Draft when the Washington Redskins picked him in the fourth round, earlier today.
Gandy-Golden was the 142nd overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft and is the first Flame selected in the draft since Walt Aikens was taken in the fourth round in 2014.
Gandy-Golden becomes the third player in program history to be selected in the fourth round of the NFL Draft.
Wide receiver Kelvin Edwards was selected in the fourth round in 1986 by New Orleans Saints with the 88th overall pick. The Liberty Athletics Hall of Fame selection played three seasons in the NFL (New Orleans – 1986; Dallas Cowboys – 1987-88).
Aikens was selected by the Miami Dolphins in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft with the 125th overall pick. The cornerback and special teams standout played for the Dolphins the last six seasons (2014-19).
The Flames’ top NFL Draft pick was Eric Green, who was selected in the first round (21st pick) by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1990.
Liberty’s other previous NFL Draft picks include Fred Banks (1985/Round 8/Cleveland Browns), Edwards (1986/Round 4/New Orleans Saints), Richard Shelton (1989/Round 10/Denver Broncos), Donald Smith (1990/Round 10/Minnesota Vikings), Rashad Jennings (2009/Round 7/Jacksonville Jaguars) and Aikens (2014/Round 4/Miami Dolphins).
Gandy-Golden was the fourth player selected in this year’s NFL Draft by the Redskins, following Chase Young (DE/Round 1/Ohio State), Antonio Gibson (WR/Round 3/Memphis) and Saahdiq Charles (OT/Round 4/LSU).
Gandy-Golden finished his senior year with the Flames ranked No. 4 in the country in total receiving yards (1,396) and No. 5 in receiving yards per game (107.4). He also ranked No. 22 in the country in receptions per game (6.1).
Gandy-Golden finished his senior season with 1,396 receiving yards, becoming the first player in program history to record 1,000 receiving yards in three consecutive seasons (2017 – 1,066; 2018 – 1,037; 2019 – 1,396).
Gandy-Golden has rewritten all of Liberty's career receiving records. He is the school's all-time leader in career receiving yards (3,814), receptions (240) and receiving touchdowns (33). He also holds the program record with 17 100-yard games, seven of which came during his senior season.
The NFL Draft selection is the latest in a long line of honors for the native of Dallas, Ga. The wide receiver was a semifinalist for the 2019 Biletnikoff Award, was named the Offensive End of the Year honoree by the Touchdown Club of Richmond and garnered a spot on the 2019 Phil Steele All-America honorable mention team.
Gandy-Golden was named to the 2019 VaSID all-state team for the third year in a row. He was also one of 11 Flames named to the 2019 Phil Steele FBS Independent All-Conference team.
To help NFL scouts evaluate Gandy-Golden’s talent, the wide receiver was invited to the 2020 Reese’s Senior Bowl in January and the 2020 NFL Combine in February.
Liberty Heads Back to the ASUN Championship, Defeats Stetson
LYNCHBURG, Va. – For the second straight season, Liberty is headed to the ASUN Championship after pulling out the 66-62 win over Stetson, Thursday night at the Vines Center. Liberty will face the No. 3 seed, Lipscomb, in the ASUN Championship for the second consecutive season. Tip-off is set for 3 p.m. ET and will be on ESPN.
Both teams struggled on offense early in the contest the game was tied at 7-7 from the 15:14-mark until the 11:04-mark. Stetson got in a groove late in the half as they jumped out to an 18-9 lead with just under four and a half minutes left in the period. Liberty responded by making its last five field goal attempts as Darius McGhee provided the exclamation point with a three-pointer at the buzzer. Liberty would trail at the break, 25-22. Caleb Homesley led all scorers with 11 points at the break.
Liberty was able to get its first lead of the game (29-28) at the 16:19-mark off a steal and layup by Elijah Cuffee and the Flames would never relinquish the lead after that. The Flames were exceptional in the first 10 minutes of the half as Liberty went on a 15-2 run just over six minutes to jump put to a 40-30 lead. Stetson cut Liberty’s lead to single digits with 10:42 left in the game and came within two points (58-56) with 1:12 left in the game. In order to maintain its lead, Georgie Pacheco-Ortiz was clutch in the final minute, converting 8-8 free throws in the final 44 seconds of the game.
Key Stats & Notes
Thoughts from Head Coach Ritchie McKay
"Flames Nation was amazing tonight. That was the best home court since I have been here in seven years. I thought they were the difference. Our guys who I rode with for a lot of the second half they were inspired. I thought we were better in the post and got in a rhythm on offense and we were decent enough on defense to get the win.”
Liberty will face Lipscomb in the ASUN Championship at the Vines Center on Sunday, March 8 at 3 p.m.
McKay Named ASUN Coach of the Year; Homesley Named Player of the Year
ATLANTA, Ga. – After earning a share of the ASUN Regular Season title for the second straight season, Liberty was well-recognized on the ASUN All-Conference Postseason awards, as Caleb Homesley was named the ASUN Player of the Year and Head Coach Ritchie McKay was named ASUN Coach of the Year. In addition, Scottie James was named ASUN First Team All-Conference and Georgie Pacheco-Ortiz was named to the ASUN Second Team All-Conference.
Coach McKay has been named Coach of the Year in a conference for the second time in his career, as he was named the Big South Coach of the Year back in 2016. McKay is the second coach in Liberty’s Division I era to earn a Coach of the Year honor (Dale Layer in 2011), as he has led Liberty to its fourth straight 20-win season. McKay has led the Flames to a historic season, which included 27 wins, the most in school history to end a regular season. McKay and the Flames ended the regular season with a perfect 14-0 home record, the first time in school history Liberty ended the regular season undefeated at home.
Homesley was exceptional all season, averaging a career-best 15.0 points per game to go along with 5.4 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. During conference play, Homesley elevated his game to another level with 17.6 ppg, 5.8 rpg and 2.5 per game. Homesley had eight games this season where he scored 20 points or more, seven of which came during conference play. The native of Indian Trail, N.C. is just the second player in school history to earn Player of the Year honors, joining Jesse Sanders, who was named Big South Player of the Year in 2011. Homesley was also named to the ASUN First Team All-Conference for the second straight season.
James joins Homesley as an ASUN First Team All-Conference selection for the second straight season as the big man averaged 11.0 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game. The native of Tarpon Springs, Fla. shot an ASUN-best 61.5 percent from the field and ranked fifth in the league in rebounds (7.4) per game. In the three seasons James has played at Liberty, the senior has been an all-conference selection each season. He currently ranks fourth on Liberty’s all-time rebounding list with 870 career rebounds and is No. 17 on the all-time scoring list with 1,297 career points.
This is Pacheco-Ortiz’s second time he has earned an all-conference honor, as he was named to the Big South All-Freshman Team back in 2017. As the floor general for the Flames, Pacheco-Ortiz was steady all season, averaging 10.7 points per game, the first time in his career he has ended the regular season averaging double-figures. The point guard from Ponce, Puerto Rico ranks first in the ASUN, shooting 92.5 percent from the free-throw line. He also ranks No. 8 in the conference in assist/turnover ratio (1.63) this season.
Liberty returns to the court on Tuesday, March 3rd, when the Flames host NJIT in
the ASUN Championship Quarterfinals. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. at the Vines Center and can be seen on ESPN+.
Liberty delivered quite the offensive performance with a 77-49 win on Senior day. Liberty went on a
10-0 run in just under two minutes, sparked by a pair of three-pointers by Darius McGhee.
Stetson was unable to make a field goal for over a six-minute span as the Flames went into
the break with a 34-17 lead. Liberty starting off slow of offense in the second half, Liberty
got hot in the second half with a 18-0 run over a five - minute in-game. Liberty defense
cause problems for Stetson all night as they forced seven turnovers in the second half, which
led to 14 points for the Flames. Caleb Homesley led the way for Liberty with 14 points.
The Liberty Flames are
making some noise. The Flames are not resting on their laurels after winning the Atlantic Sun Tourney and winning a game in last year’s NCAA tournament.
The boys from Lynchburg, VA started the year as one of the last unbeaten teams in Division 1 to lose and have only three losses on the season. There was no bigger game in the conference than when the Flames hosted their arch-nemesis, the North Florida Ospreys.
The Ospreys entered the Vines Center on the waves of six straight wins. As the first place team in the A-Sun at 11-2, they knew this could be their biggest challenge to date. They also had beaten Liberty in their previous meeting in Florida. Liberty was riding a five-game winning streak with a 10-2 conference record.
Caleb Homesley knew how important this game was for the Flames. He was on fire as soon as he stepped on the floor. His 28 points, double his season average, led the offensive charge for Liberty as they had to hold on to beat North Florida and move into the top spot in the A-Sun.
Liberty has been well known all year for their lockdown, man to man defense. However, they changed the script and hit the Ospreys with tremendous outside shooting and drives to the hoop.
Both teams displayed very good shooting and the lead traded hands back and forth. Liberty made ten consecutive field goals towards the end of the half to turn a two point deficit into a 10 point lead. They took the lead good with under eight minutes and stayed ahead into halftime at 40-31. Darius McGhee scored all nine of his points to spearhead the hot shooting.
Liberty shot out the gate in the second half looking to put the Ospreys away. With the hot hand of Caleb Homesley and the power of Scottie James, Liberty built a 12 point lead and was in control.
North Florida gained their composure and made Liberty sweat. The Ospreys cut the lead to five on several occasions then to two, 79-77 with 25 seconds after a Ryan Burkhardt three-point shot.
The Flames were able to put the game away with free throws and outlast the visitors 82-76.
Homesley paced all scorers with 28 points. Georgie Pacheco-Ortiz dropped 17 and Scottie James earned a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. The Flames torched the nets at over 56% from the field but only managed 4 of 13 from behind the 3pt arc.
Conversely, North Florida has four players in double figures. J.T. Escobar led the way with 26. Ivan Gandhi’s-Rosa has 17. Wajd Aminu and Carter Hendrickson both contributed 10 points each. The Ospreys were a solid 48% from the floor and nearly 42% from behind the arc making a season high 17 3pt field goals.
Liberty was able to counter
the three-point barrage by crushing the Ospreys with an advantage of 24 to 4 in made free throws. Homesley was 11/15 from the free throw line by himself.
Liberty moves into first and slides North Florida into the second spot in the standings.
The Flames offensive could not be stop Baxter- Bell, and James take charge inside in the
paint in the opening stages of the second half and the perimeter shooting heated up. the post
duo combined to score 12 of the Flames first 20 second-half points.the Flames struggled
in the first half by shooting 25% from the field. Liberty went nearly eight minutes without
a field goal to fall behind 8-3. the Flames used a late surge to take a lead before halftime.
James could not be stop inside with 13 points and his teammate Baxter-Bell had 14 points
for Liberty. the top scorer for NJIT Cooks 14 points.
Lynchburg EM-SPORTS -Liberty Georgie Pacheco-Ortiz and Scottie James was the answer to lead the Flames to Victory 67-60 win. Saturday night at the vine Center. Liberty improved to 19-1 and 5
-0 in conference The best record Liberty ever had in the conference. Liberty became the second team in the country to reach 19 games The Flames were able to force Lipscomb to commit 10 turnovers in
the first half that led to 12 points. Ortiz took over for Flames scoring 14 points to lead the Flames for a win. James had seven rebounds in the second half. Ortiz and James combining
For 37 of Liberty’s 67 points. Liberty had three players to score double figures Pacheco-
Ortiz 21points, James 16 points, and Caleb Homesley 13 point 1/19/20
Defensive Efforts Leads Flames to Cure Bowl Victory
ORLANDO, Fla. – In a season that saw the offense grab most of the attention with its gaudy numbers, it was the Liberty defense that show up in its biggest game. A stout defensive effort led Liberty to a 23-16 win over Georgia Southern, Saturday afternoon, in the 2019 FBC Mortgage Cure Bowl.
With the win, the Flames cap off the most memorable year in program history with an 8-5 record. Liberty completed its FBS reclassification process in August, received its first-ever bowl game invitation on Dec. 8 and walked away from Exploria Stadium with a bowl game trophy in hand, this afternoon.
Georgia Southern came into the game ranked No. 8 in the country in rushing offense, averaging 261.5 yards per game. Liberty came into the game ranked No. 100 in the nation in rushing defense, surrendering 192.7 yards per game on the ground.
Liberty’s defensive effort held Georgia Southern to 154 rushing yards, a single rushing touchdown and three field goals in the victory. On the day, the Flames outgained the Eagles in total offense (402 to 249).
Flames defensive end Jessie Lemonier was named the 2019 Cure Bowl MVP, finishing the game with eight tackles, including two sacks. Lemonier ends his two-year career with the Flames ranked third in program history with 20.5 sacks.
Fellow senior Solomon Ajayi led the team on the day with nine stops, while Benjamin Alexander and TreShaun Clark finished with eight stops.
Liberty’s four-year starting quarterback Stephen Calvert finished the day completing 16-of-35 attempts for 270 yards and two touchdowns. He ends his career as the program’s all-time career leader in passing yards (12,025), completions (896) and touchdowns (93).
Antonio Gandy-Golden finished his last game in a Liberty uniform with five receptions for 63 yards and a touchdown. The 2020 Senior Bowl bound player completes his career as the program’s all-time leader in receptions (240), receiving yards (3,814) and touchdowns (33).
Running back Frankie Hickson posted his ninth career 100-yard game, leading all rushers on the day with 120 yards on 22 carries. The senior finished the year with 1,021 yards, posting his second-consecutive 1,000-yard rushing campaign.
Box Score Highlights:
Final Score: 23-16
Georgia Southern (7-6, 5-3 Sun Belt)
Location: Exploria Stadium (Orlando, Fla.)
After limiting the Georgia Southern offense to 115 yards during the first half, including 95 yards on the ground, two third-quarter turnovers by Liberty gave the Eagles extra chances to erase a 23-7 Flames lead during the third quarter.
However, the Flames’ defense buckled down and kept Georgia Southern out of the end zone. The Eagles were forced to settle for three second half field goal, allowing Liberty to secure its first-ever bowl game victory.
· The two teams struggled to get into an offensive flow, as the first five drives resulted in 18 total plays for 31 yards of offensive. Liberty opened the game by forcing the Georgia Southern offense into three consecutive three-and-out series.
· The Flames were the first team to crack the scoreboard when Calvert completed a 57-yard touchdown strike to tight end Johnny Huntley wide open in the slot. The redshirt junior’s first career touchdown at Liberty gave the Flames a 7-0 lead at 3:31.
· The Eagles scored on the following drive, getting into the end zone on the first play of the second quarter. Junior Wesley Kennedy, III finished off a seven-play, 79-yard drive with a 10-yard rushing touchdown to knot the game at 7-7 with 14:53 left to play before half.
· Liberty responded on its next possession, taking a 13-7 lead just 91 seconds later. Calvert completed lengthy passes to Noah Frith (30 yards) and Demario Douglas (18 yards), setting up a three-yard rushing touchdown by Joshua Mack at 13:22.
· The Flames extended their lead to 16-7 before halftime. Alex Probert connected on a 46-yard field goal with 1:02. Liberty controlled the pace of play during the first half, outgaining the Eagles 264-to-115.
· Liberty scored on the opening possession of the third quarter, pushing their lead to 23-7 12:01 into the period. Calvert lofted a ball into the corner of the end zone where Gandy-Golden went up and over the top of a defender for a 14-yard touchdown reception, his 10th of the season and 33rd of his career.
· After Liberty scored 16-consecutive points, the Flames’ defense continued to keep the Eagles out of the end zone, but not off the scoreboard. Georgia Southern’s Tyler Bass knocked down a pair of field goals during the remaining time in the period (28 and 30 yards), trimming Liberty’s lead to 23-13 heading into the final quarter.
· The Eagles continued to attempt to chip away at the Flames advantage after getting a stop on a fourth-and-three play midway through the fourth quarter. However, Liberty’s defense made one last stop, forcing Georgia Southern to settle for a 35-yard field goal with 1:48 left to play.
· Holding a 23-16 lead, the Flames were able to wind down the clock with a pair of rushing attempts from Hickson and a pass attempt from Calvert to secure the victory.
The Flames will begin their quest to make their second bowl appearance in a row when Liberty opens the 2010 season against Commonwealth foe Virginia Tech at Lane Stadium in Blacksburg, Va. on Sept. 5. The Hokies, who are currently 8-4, conclude their 2019 season on Dec. 31 when they face Kentucky in the Belk Bowl in Charlotte, N.C.
Date: Saturday, Sept. 5, 2020
Location: Blacksburg, Va. (Lane Stadium)
Former University of Maine quarterback Chris Ferguson has transferred to Liberty University, an independent Football Bowl Subdivision program. Ferguson, who has one year of eligibility remaining as a grad student, left the Black Bears days after the end of a 6-6 season.
LYNCHBURG, Va. – Liberty Head Football Coach Hugh Freeze announced the addition of 22 players to his 2020 roster as part of National Signing Day, earlier today.
Freeze and his coaching staff held their Signing Day offices from a meeting room in the Loews Royal Pacific Hotel at the Universal Resorts in Orlando, Fla., the team’s home base during their preparation for the 2019 FBC Mortgage Cure Bowl on Saturday.
Freeze’s second signing class at Liberty is the highest ranked recruiting class in program history. The 2020 is ranked No. 98 in the country by 247Sports.com, which included 11 three-star ranked recruits (out of 19 scholarship offers). Freeze’s 2020 signing class includes nine mid-year enrollees and 13 players who will join the roster the fall.
2020 Mid-Year Enrollees Announced in December
Gage Bassham OL 6-5 315 Abingdon, Va./Lord Botetourt HS
Will Buchanan OL 6-6 300 Asheville, N.C./Christ School
Anthony Butler LB 6-1 225 Charlotte, N.C./Zebulon B. Vance HS
Tim Coutras S 6-2 195 Nolenville, Tenn./Nolensville HS
Gabe Fuster LB 6-1 220 Chesapeake, Va./Deep Creek HS
Durrell Johnson DE 6-4 225 Essex, Md./Overlea HS (ASA College)
Jerome Jolly, Jr. DB 6-0 200 Jacksonville, Fla./Mandarin HS
Karsen Perkins DE 6-4 250 Concord, N.C./NW Cabarrus HS
Juawan Treadwell DB 6-0 190 Ford Heights, Ill./Crete-Monee HS
2020 Signees Announced in December
Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown/High School
Deon Biggins DB 6-1 170 Horn Lake, Miss./Horn Lake HS
Sean Brown QB 6-2 185 Apex, N.C./Middle Creek HS
Kendy Charles DT 6-2 245 Orange Park, Fla./Orange Park HS
CJ Daniels WR 6-1 185 Lilburn, Ga./Parkview HS
Brian Hannibal OL 6-3 290 Silver Spring, Md./James Hubert Blake HS
Marcus Haskins DB 6-1 180 St. Paul, Minn./East Ridge HS
(Iowa Western CC)
Ahmad Jackson WR 6-1 200 Tyrone, Ga./Sandy Creek HS
Jaivian Lofton WR 6-2 195 Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./
Rancho Cucamonga HS (Chaffey College)
Aaron Lovins DB 6-0 180 Nashville, Tenn./Brentwood Academy
Chase Mitchell OL 6-4 330 Washington, Pa./Washington HS
Louis Taylor, III DB 6-1 180 Martinsville, Va./Magna Vista HS
Aakil Washington DL 6-2 230 Marietta, Ga./Wheeler HS
Rashad Whitehead DL 6-2 245 Atlanta, Ga./B.E.S.T. Academy
December Signee Bios
Gage Bassham, OL, 6-5, 315, Abingdon, Va./Lord Botetourt HS
Three-star recruit as ranked by 247Sports.com … also received offers from ETSU, Marshall and Old Dominion … District Lineman of the Year … first-team all-district … first-team all-region … first-team all-state … 2019 Blue Ridge District Champions … 2019 Region 3D Champions … helped his team to the 2019 state championship game played at Liberty’s Williams Stadium … son of Deborah and Mark Bassham … is looking at majoring in criminal justice or business.
Deon Biggins, DB, 6-1, 170, Horn Lake, Miss./Horn Lake HS
Also received offers from Austin Peay, Louisiana-Monroe and Louisiana Tech … Fastest Man 4.35 Forty Time … finished his senior season with three interceptions and seven pass breakups … helped lead Horn Lake to the 2018 6A State Championship … son of Yolanda Hassell Rooks and Charlie Biggins … plans to major in business.
Sean Brown, QB, 6-2, 185, Apex, N.C./Middle Creek HS
Three-star recruit as ranked by 247Sports.com … also received offers from Campbell, Charlotte, Elon, Furman and Bucknell … finished his last two years of high school throwing for 5,034 yards and 50 touchdowns … two-time all-conference honoree … three-time academic all-conference … 2019 Offensive MVP … son of Tracie and Mike Brown.
Will Buchanan, OL, 6-6, 300, Asheville, N.C./Christ School
Also received offers from Bryant, Campbell, Charleston Southern, Eastern Kentucky, Elon, ETSU, Gardner-Webb, Jacksonville State, Mercer, William & Mary and Wofford … first-team all-conference … first-team all-state … named to the USA Today All-North Carolina team … helped Christ School to two state runner-up titles … son of Carrie and Scott Buchanan.
Anthony Butler, LB, 6-1, 225, Charlotte, N.C./Zebulon B. Vance HS (Charlotte)
Transferring to Liberty from Charlotte … also received offers from 17 different schools … three-year varsity standout … two-time team MVP … two-time All-MECKA 4A conference player … 2014 All-Charlotte Observer third team defensive back … helped the Cougars to an 11-4 record as a junior where they reached the 4A State semifinals … ranked fourth in the country with 12 tackles as a junior, averaging 8.1 tackles per game … added 3.0 sacks, 17.0 tackles for a loss and an interception … Zebulon B. Vance High School advanced to the playoffs during his senior campaign … son of Hana Mahmoud … plans to be a sport management major.
Kendy Charles, DT, 6-1, 245, Orange Park, Fla./Orange Park HS
Also received offers from Bethune-Cookman, Chattanooga, Charleston Southern, The Citadel, Coastal Carolina, New Hampshire, Western Kentucky and Wofford … finished his high school career with 216 tackles, 30 sacks, 24 quarterback hurries and four forced fumbles … also scored a pair of touchdowns, five two-point conversions and connected on 15-of-17 field goal attempts … 5A Co-Player of the Year … 5A all-state honoree … three-time first-team all-county … two-time first-team all-conference … two-time first-team all-district … son of Marie and Jean Charles … plans to major in sport management.
Tim Coutras, S, 6-2, 195, Nolenville, Tenn./Nolensville HS
Three-star recruit as ranked by 247Sports.com … also received offers from ETSU, Eastern Illinois and UT Martin … finished his career with 19 interceptions, returning four for a touchdown … also added 58 tackles, 1,005 receiving yards and 20 touchdowns … 4A Mr. Football Finalist … two-time all-state selection … Region 4A MVP … Region 4A Athlete of the Year as a senior … son of Tess and Chris Coutras … plans to major in sport management.
CJ Daniels, WR, 6-1, 185, Lilburn, Ga./Parkview HS
Three-star recruit as ranked by 247Sports.com … also received offers from Air Force, Army, Navy, North Dakota State and Southern Illinois … finished his senior year with 1,411 receiving yards on 93 receptions for 15 touchdowns … two-time second-team all-county honoree … two-time first-team all-region selection … helped Parkview High School to a pair of region titles … son of Natalie Beavers and Carlton Daniels … is looking at majoring in engineering or sport management.
Gabe Fuster, LB, 6-1, 220, LaBelle, Va./Deep Creek HS
Three-star recruit as ranked by 247Sports.com … finished his career at Deep Creek High School with 112 tackles … son of Ashley and Gustavo Fuster … plans to major in sport management.
Brian Hannibal, OL, 6-3, 290, Silver Spring, Md./James Hubert Blake HS
Three-star recruit as ranked by 247Sports.com … also received offers from Buffalo, Charlotte, Georgetown, Old Dominion, Marshall, Purdue, Rutgers, Syracuse and Yale … allowed only two sacks during his senior year … first-team all-country … first-team all-division honorable mention … All-Met selection … son of Tonya and Anslem Hannibal … plans to major in computer science.
Marcus Haskins, DB, 6-1, 180, St. Paul, Minn./East Ridge HS (Iowa Western CC)
Transferring to Liberty from Iowa Western Community College … also received offers from Akron, Austin Peay, Buffalo, Charlotte, Coastal Carolina, Kent State, Louisiana Tech, New Mexico State, Northern Iowa, Montana State, Southeast Missouri State, Tennessee Martin and Troy … finished the 2019 season at Iowa Western with 31 tackles, 10 pass breakups, seven interceptions and two forced fumbles … first-team All-ICCAC Conference … first-team All-America NJCAA DB … recorded an interception in five-straight games to open his college football career … had a pair of games with two interceptions during the season’s final three contests … tied the NCAA Division II single game season high with seven passes defended in a 31-7 win over Upper Iowa (six pass breakups and an one interception) … recorded 41 tackles during his senior season at East Ridge High School … ranked sixth on the team and added a pair of forced fumbles … had 170 all-purpose yards included 125 on his nine interception returns … first-team all-conference as a senior … A Cliff Harris Award finalist … earned D2CCA, Associated Press and Don Hansen’s Football Gazette All-America first-team and D2Football.com All-America honorable mention … named Don Hansen’s Football Gazette Super Region 4 Freshman of the Year … named Don Hansen’s Football Gazette and D2CCA All-Super Region 4 first-team … NSIC Defensive Newcomer of the Year and All-NSIC South Division First Team … led the county with 2.9 passes defended per game … led the Northern Sun and ranked second in the nation with nine interceptions … led the conference with 20 pass breakups … son of Naomi and Kevin Haskins … plans to major in communications.
Ahmad Jackson, WR, 6-1, 200, Tyrone, Ga./Sandy Creek HS
Three-star recruit as ranked by 247Sports.com … also received an offer from Ole Miss … native of Atlanta, Ga., who graduated from Sandy Creek High School in Sandy Creek, N.Y. … finished his senior year with 61 receptions for 1,191 yards and 11 touchdowns … son of Marlene and Clovis Jackson.
Durrell Johnson, DE, 6-4, 225, Essex, Md./Overlea HS (ASA College)
Transferring to Liberty from ASA College in Brooklyn, N.Y. … also received offers from Akron, Bethune-Cookman, Grambling State, Morgan State and South Alabama … two-time all-conference honoree at ASA College … JUCO All-American … named a Super 22 Athlete and a BTC All-Star at Overlea High School … son of Kiffiney Parrish and Durrell Johnson.
Jerome Jolly, Jr., DB, 6-0, 200, Jacksonville, Fla./Mandarin HS
Three-star recruit as ranked by 247Sports.com … also received offers from Alabama A&M, Florida A&M, Georgia Southern, Southern Miss and UAB … finished his career with 104 tackles, six sacks and five pass breakups … second-team Gateway Conference … helped Mandarin High School to the 2018 8A State Championship … son of Kenya and Jerome Jolly, Sr. … plans to major in sport management.
Jaivian Lofton, WR, 6-2, 195, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga HS (Chaffey College)
Transferring to Liberty from Chaffey College … also received offers from Arkansas Pine Bluff, Middle Tennessee, Tennessee Tech and Western Kentucky … finished his two season at Chaffey College wit 1,584 receiving yards, 72 receptions and 20 touchdowns … first-team all-conference … son of Quiana Lundy and Randel Horton … plans to major in kinesiology.
Aaron Lovins, DB, 6-0, 180, Nashville, Tenn./Brentwood Academy
Also received offers from Austin Peay and Missouri Western State … finished his senior year with 81 tackles (52 solo, 29 assisted), six tackles for a loss, eight pass breakups, an interception, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and a blocked punt … all-state cornerback … all-country cornerback … played in the East-West All-Star game … helped Brentwood Academy claim three state titles … son of Lisa and Rich Lovins … plans to major in business or coaching.
Chase Mitchell, OL, 6-4, 330, Washington, Pa./Washington HS
Also received offers from Howard, UMass, West Liberty and William & Mary … two-time all-conference honoree … All-WPIAL … helped Washington High School to four conference titles and a WPIAL title … son of Tamara Mitchell … plans on majoring in business.
Karsen Perkins, DE, 6-4, 250, Concord, N.C./NW Cabarrus HS
Three-star recruit as ranked by 247Sports.com … also received offers from Akron, Campbell, Charlotte and Eastern Kentucky … finished his junior season with 13 sacks … all-conference honoree as a junior … helped lead NW Cabarrus to a conference title … son of Kelli Dixon and Andre Perkins … plans to major in psychology.
Louis Taylor, III, DB, 6-1, 180, Martinsville, Va./Magna Vista HS
Finishes his senior season at Magna Vista High School with 32.5 tackles, six pass breakups and an interception … first-team All-Region Defense honoree … son of Courtney Davis and Louis Taylor, Jr. … plans to major in exercise science.
Juawan Treadwell, DB, 6-0, 185, Crete, Ill./Crete-Monee HS (Independence CC)
Three-star recruit as ranked by 247Sports.com … transferring to Liberty from Independence Community College in Independence, Kan. … also received offers from Akron, South Alabama, Southern Miss and Temple … finished the 2019 at Independence with 57 tackles, 10 pass breakups and 1.5 tackles for a loss … all-conference and All-America honoree at Independence … son of Tami Treadwell and Michael Scott.
Aakil Washington, DL, 6-2, 230, Marietta, Ga./Wheeler HS
Also received offers from Akron, Buffalo, Charlotte, Coastal Carolina, Eastern Kentucky, Florida A&M, Georgia Southern, Illinois State, Jacksonville State, Kent State, Mercer, Troy, Tulane and Western Carolina … finished his senior season with 59 tackles, 13 sacks, three forced fumbles and a safety … three-time first-team All-Region honoree … Eloisa Reynoso and Nicholas Washington … plans to major in information technology.
Rashad Whitehead, DL, 6-2, 245, Atlanta, Ga./B.E.S.T. Academy
Three-star recruit as ranked by 247Sports.com … also received offers from Akron, Arizona, Army, Buffalo, Charlotte, Florida Atlantic, Fordham, Mercer, Navy and USF … 151 tackles and 16 sacks … also finished his career with 45 receptions for 385 yards and seven touchdowns … second-team all-conference defense honoree as a sophomore … firs-team all-conference defense selection as a junior and senior … Pre-Season All-Region selection heading into his senior season … son of TaCorey and Robert Whitehead … plans to major in sport management or business management.
LIBERTY FLAMES MAKE HISTORY, HEADED TO FIRST EVER FBS BOWL GAME
The Liberty Flames Football Team has enjoyed success in their second year as an Independent FBS Program. They have competed with Power 5 programs. They have hosted ACC program the Syracuse Orange and they have won more than 50% of their games in the last two seasons.
Another first has been accomplished. The Liberty Flames have been invited and accepted the invitation to the Cure Bowl. This young bowl game is in its fifth year of operation in Orlando, Florida. It is one of the most inspirational and impactful bowl games because it directly impacts the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
The Flames will have the honor of being the first Independent to participate in this bowl game.
The contest will take place on December 21st and the opponent will be a familiar face: the Georgia Southern Eagles.
When both teams played in the FCS, they had faced each other three times over the years. The Eagles had won the three previous matchups. The Eagles are now members of the Sun Belt Conference.
This is a milestone accomplishment for the Flames and their program. This school has only been in existence since 1971 and the football program has taken leaps and bounds in the nearly 50 years since the school's inception.
The Liberty Flames are making history and are just starting to blaze a trail as the program looks into the next decade of Flames football.
Liberty Becomes First Team in DI to 10 Wins, Defeats Trinity Baptist
LYNCHBURG, Va. – Liberty became the first team in the country to reach the 10-win mark this season as the Flames defeated Trinity Baptist College 87-28. The win was Liberty’s largest margin of victory in school history as 28 points was also the fewest points Liberty has allowed an opponent to score in a game in school history.
Liberty started the game on a 16-2 run, shooting 60 percent (6-10) in its first 10 shots of the game. While the offense started clicking, Liberty’s defense was exceptional holding Trinity Baptist College to just 20 percent (2-10) in its first 10 shots of the game. Liberty’s defense frustrated Trinity Baptist College all night long, holding the Eagles to just 22.2 percent (12-54) shooting throughout the game. Liberty had a balanced scoring attack as all 14 Liberty players scored against Trinity Baptist College.
Key Stats & Notes
Thoughts from Head Coach Ritchie McKay
"Great to see our students out tonight. It was great to see Caleb (Homesley) out there tonight, moving freely, which hasn’t happened in a while. I wanted to give him a few minutes to shake off the rust. He had an impact on the game and did a really good job.”
Liberty will close out the week on the road when they travel to Phoenix, Ariz. to compete in the Jerry Colangelo Classic against Grand Canyon. Tip-off is set for 6:30 p.m. ET and can be seen on ESPNU.
McKay Announces Class of 2020
LYNCHBURG, Va. – Ritchie McKay and Liberty men’s basketball announced three newcomers on National Signing Day, signing Micaiah Abii, Drake Dobbs and Jonathan Jackson.
“Overall this is a class that we are really excited about,” McKay said. “Because of what the university stands for and the growth of our program due to the hard work of our current and former players, we are able to attract a really talented student-athlete that is a great fit for Liberty. “I hope this class has the same passion and desire that we do as a family to continue to elevate our program.”
Michaiah Abii | Forward | Frisco, Texas
Abii is one of the best players from the state of Texas, where he played at Liberty High School for coach Stephen Friar and was a two-star recruit. Abii has been a force at Liberty where he was a First Team All-District selection and First Team All-Area honoree. Abii also played for Texas Impact 4:13 on the AAU circuit under head coach TJ Thomas.
Coach McKay Quote: “Micaiah Abii was someone we identified late but thank goodness we did. He has an infectious personality, is multi-positioned and really skilled. He has a level of basketball acumen that I think is going to afford him the opportunity to play early.”
Drake Dobbs | Guard | Eden Prairie, Minn.
A native of Minnesota, Dobbs is a three-star recruit and has played against some elite competition and was a part of one of the best AAU programs in the country in DI Minnesota under head coach Al Harris. Dobbs attended Eden Prairie High School where he was a four-year starter and was an All-Lake Conference selection all four years of high school. During his junior campaign, Dobbs scored 1,000 career points and is on pace for 2,000 currently during his senior season. The guard is currently on pace to set the school record for career points and career assists at Eden Prairie.
Coach McKay Quote: “Drake Dobbs is your quintessential point guard. He had a great basketball IQ and because of the level of competition that he has played at both on the high school level and the AAU Summer Circuit, he comes very well prepared to the college level. He has been fabulously coached by his high school coach, David Flom, and his AAU coach, Al Harris. We are really excited about Drake being a part of our family.”
Jonathan Jackson | Guard/Forward | Overland Park, Kan.
Jackson started his high school career in Kansas, beginning as a home school player with Kansas City’s Metro Academy and also playing at Blue Valley High School. Recently, Jackson moved to Dallas, Texas where he now plays for the Dallas Thunder. Jackson has received a lot of attention throughout his career from prominent schools, as he is the younger brother of Justin Jackson, who currently plays for Dallas Mavericks in the NBA.
Coach McKay Quote: “I have known Jonathan (Jackson) for years before I even thought of recruiting him because of our recruitment for his brother, Justin. I love their family and he is unheralded but is an absolute great get for our program. I really think Jonathan is going to be one of the most mature freshmen that our program has seen.”
Lynchburg VA-Both teams started off cold with one made field goal in the
First 10 minutes. Liberty finally broke through on the offensive with Kyle
Rode, who scored all seven of his points. both teams struggled
on offense to start the game. Kyle Rode came off the bench and provided a
Spark for Liberty offense as went on a run 15-2. Flames dominated both
Offensive and defensive boards. South Carolina try to slow down Liberty by going
To full-court press, it did not stop Flames from scored inside and outside.
Flames forced a season-high 14 turnovers which led to 13 points. Georgie
Pacheco- Ortiz led the way with 12 points for Liberty and Scottie James
Posted a game-high 12-rebounds. Jahmari Etienne with 14 points for South
Carolina. EM-SPORTS 11/12/19
Lynchburg VA The Flames are now 2-0 They outscored Maryland Eastern Shore’s36 - 28 inside the
paint.Liberty shot 52 percent 26-50 for the game while holding Maryland Eastern Shore’s
To 43 percent 21-49. Liberty bench was outscored by Maryland Eastern Shore’s
40-12. Ritchie Mckay was little disappointed. I felt like the visiting team play harder than we did
and I feel like we are a lot better than that effort this afternoon. The Flames top scorers Scotty James with a game-high 22 points and 16 rebounds and Darius Mcghee with 19 points also
Caleb Homesley recored a game-high six assists. Da’Shawn Phillip top scored for Maryland
Eastern Shore’s. EM-SPORTS 11/10/19
LYNCHBURG VA EM-SPORTS 11/8/19
Liberty was on cruise control they control the game to end. Liberty led 16-5 with 9:15
to go in the first half. Radford went full-court press with 5:16 left in the first half Cuffee had two- three
To built the led 33-19 before halftime. Start the second half Radford cut the lead to 13 point
With 16:51 left in the second half. them Radford cut the lead again to 10 points with 14:20 to go in-game.
Radford got hot from the flood with Carlik Jones lead the way with 31ponts for Radford.
Liberty had 29 points from the bench and 26 points Inside paint. Caleb Homesley was
The top scorer with 18 points and Kyle Rode 12 points.
Liberty Flames burn the Maine Bears 59-44 on Homecoming Night
The Liberty Flames entered Williams Stadium on a four game winning streak. The Flames were even more excited because they were entertaining their dedicated fans on 2019 Homecoming Night.
The Flames and Bears decided to put on a fireworks show. The game featured 1,059 total yards and over 800 yards passing alone. Each team was responsible for 10 total passing TDs with both quarterbacks tossing five apiece.
In the case of Liberty WR, Antonio Gandy-Golden, he had a career night. He finished the game with nine receptions for 149 yard making his total of 3,295 career receiving yards, which surpasses Darrin Peterson’s (2012-15) previous record of 3,170 career yards.
On the same drive he broke the receiving yardage record, QB Stephen Calvert completed all four of his passing attempts for 79 yards. The yardage pushed the senior over the 10,000 career passing yards threshold, making him the second quarterback in school history to pass for 10,000 or more yards.
Calvert didn’t stop once he reached 10,000-yard mark, with the senior finishing the night by completing 23-of-35 attempts for 351 yards and five touchdowns. Calvert’s 16th career 300-yard game and third career five-passing touchdown game pushed him to the top of Liberty’s career passing charts.
With his 351 passing yards tonight, Calvert became Liberty’s all-time leader in career passing yards with 10,282. His total surpasses Josh Woodrum (2012-15), who finished his career with 10,266 passing yards.
Liberty broke out early and scored often versus the Black Bears. Liberty led 17-3 after the first quarter then increased the lead to 45-17 at the half. Maine may have been down but they didn't give up without a fight.
The defenses seemed to come alive in the second half but holding each team to one touchdown apiece. Then Maine started chipping away at the big lead by outscoring the Flames 20-7 in the fourth quarter. Their comeback fell short. Maine QB Joe Fagnano was 25-37 for 445 yards and five touchdowns. He also threw one interception.
Maine outgained Liberty in yardage and clock possession with a time of nearly 36 minutes to the Flames' 24 minutes.
With the win, Liberty now stands at 5-2 while Maine falls to 2-5 on the year.
Liberty Football to Retire Edwards’ Jersey at Homecoming
LYNCHBURG, Va. – While all alumni will be recognized during Liberty University’s annual Homecoming Weekend, one former football player will join an elite group of program honorees.
During Homecoming Weekend 2019, the Liberty Football program will retire the No. 83 jersey of Liberty Athletics Hall of Fame member Kelvin Edwards.
Edwards will be honored during Liberty’s football game against Maine on Oct. 19. Kickoff for the Homecoming contest is set for 6 p.m.
Edwards will become the fourth individual to have a jersey retired, honoring his contributions and accomplishments on the gridiron. Liberty retired a jersey in honor of Dr. Jerry Falwell in 2006, the school’s founder and former chancellor. In 2008, former head coach Sam Rutigliano and tight end Eric Green each had a jersey retired in their honor.
Edwards helped the athletics department’s flagship program make the move to the NCAA ranks, as the wide receiver shined for the football program during a star-studded four-year career (1982-85).
A 1985 Associated Press Little All-America first-team honoree, Edwards finished his career as the program’s all-time leader in receiving yards (2,546) and receiving touchdowns (22). Both records stood for 26 seasons before they were eclipsed by Chris Summers in 2011.
Edwards finished his career at Liberty with five 100-yard games. Despite Liberty’s 1985 season being shortened by a flood that wiped out the football program’s facilities, Edwards was still selected to participate in the 1985 Blue-Gray All-Star game. He became the first player in program history to be named to a postseason all-star game.
Upon graduating from Liberty, Edwards became Liberty’s second-highest NFL draft pick, when he was selected in the fourth round of the 1986 draft by the New Orleans Saints. His three-year professional football career was spotlighted when he was a starting wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys.
The native of Atlanta, Ga., finished his NFL career with 49 receptions, 746 receiving yards and three touchdowns. He had a breakout year for the Cowboys in 1987, finishing the season with 34 receptions, 521 receiving yards and three touchdowns.
The retired jersey honor will be the second time Liberty Athletics has recognized Edwards. The standout wide receiver was one of seven inductees into the inaugural Liberty Athletics Hall of Fame class in 2009.
Liberty University earned its third straight victory, shutting down a high-powered New Mexico offense.
In a 17-10 to victory, both teams played tough defense. As time expired in the first quarter, Liberty QB Stephen "Buckshot Calvert threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to WR Antonio-Gandy-Golden. The senior became the program’s all-time career leader in touchdown receptions. For the game, he finished the night with six receptions for 144 yards.
Stephen Calvert posted another 300-yard passing game and his third in a row. The senior finished the night completing 24-of -36 passing for 306 yards and two touchdowns.
At the start of second-quarter, the visiting Lobos started to get their offense going during a drive that reached the 34-yard line of the Flames. New Mexico settled for a 52-yard field goal by PK Andrew Shelley at the 9:20 mark. The successful field goal trimmed the Flames' lead to 7-3, in the second quarter.
The home team responded with a statement drive. On Liberty’s second-longest drive of the first half, a nine-play, 82-yard, Calvert tossed a 2-yard pass to tight end Jerome Jackson. This extended the score to 14-3 prior to the halftime intermission.
As both teams struggled to score points in the second half, Liberty finally broke through as it extended its lead to 17-3 thanks to an Alex Probert 42-yard field goal.
New Mexico was able to score their only touchdown on a ptich and catch of 14 yards from Tuioti to Aaron Molina.
Liberty's defense did the heavy lifting and shut the door to seal the victory in Lynchburg, VA
Lynchburg VA EM-SPORTS 9/21/19
Liberty made history tonight by scoring 62 points against Hampton. The two teams found the end zone a total six time during the first quarter, the Flame scored a TD on the opening drive
With Frankie Hickson two-yard run. Next scoring play was set up by a 47-yard pass from Calvert to Stubbs, and Bandon Robinson too in for a 2-yards touchdown. The Flames scored
two more touchdowns on ground two-yard run by Robinson and a -yard by Peytton Pickett .
Antonio Gandy-Golden 73-yard pass from Stephen Calvert for a touchdown. The Pirates scored
First, on a muffed punt return, while Deondre Francois hit Jadakis Bonds on a 28-yard scoring
The route over the middle of the field. Liberty came right back to score again with Calvert hooked up
With a 29-yard pass to Gandy-Golden for touchdown 9:33 ) second quarter. Hampton opened
Third-quarter with the most successful drive of the night a six-play, 80-yard drive Alec Dana 25-yard
Pass from Deondre Francois touchdown they went for the two-point conversion made it. Stephen Calvert completing 10-of -16 passing attempts for 319 yards and two touchdowns. Next game for Liberty - New Mexico State.
Stephen Calvert And wide receiver Antonio Gandy-Golden dominated the game for the Flame .
Calvert had a career 300-yard game, finishing the night by completing 20- of 30 attempts for 325
Yards and four TD. Gandy- Golden ended the night with eight receptions for 174 yards and two TD. the Flames offense scored on the game’s first drive and four times before halftime to take a 22-7 lead into halftime. Liberty held the Bulls to 373 offensive yard. Buffalo tried to respond on the following drive, marching with 65 yards on 16 plays to get deep in Liberty territory. However,
Alex McNulty Missed wide left on a 37-yard field goal attempt. Buffalo quarterback Matt Myers
Threw a 13-yard pass to Dylan McDuffie for TD to tie the game 7-7 In the second quarter.
Third Quarter Gandy -Golden scored 55-yards TD with 16 seconds left before the end of
The third quarter. The Bulls score on their lone possession of the fourth quarter when Myers complete a 5-yard pass to Cole Burniston stone for Buffalo TD. EM-SPORTS 9/15/19 Lynchburg VA
Liberty Flames step right up. The 2019 season will begin like no other in the school’s short football history.
LYNCHBURG, Va. – Liberty Athletics received word today the NCAA has denied its appeal request for immediate eligibility for former Auburn quarterback Malik Willis.
Willis transferred to Liberty this past summer following two seasons of play at Auburn. The native of Atlanta, Ga., saw playing time in 15 games with the Tigers during the 2017 and 2018 seasons. He completed 11-of-14 passing attempts for 69 yards and a touchdown, while rushing 28 times for 309 yards and two touchdowns.
Willis faced the Flames when Liberty traveled to Auburn, Ala., in 2018. He finished the Nov. 17 game completing 2-of-3 passing attempts for 13 yards, while adding a 16-yard rushing touchdown.
LYNCHBURG, Va. – Liberty’s bowl game opportunities will greatly expand during the next bowl cycle with Liberty and ESPN Events entering a new secondary bowl game agreement.
During the 2020 to 2025 bowl game cycle, ESPN Events could place the Flames in one of at least six bowl games: Boca Raton Bowl (FAU Stadium; Boca Raton, Fla.), Camellia Bowl (Cramton Bowl; Montgomery, Ala.), , Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Albertsons Stadium; Boise, Idaho), Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl (Toyota Stadium; Frisco, Texas), Myrtle Beach Bowl (Brooks Stadium; Conway, S.C.) and New Mexico Bowl (Dreamstyle Stadium; Albuquerque, N.M.).
“Liberty enjoys a strong and vibrant partnership with ESPN Events that has been furthered by a six-year bowl participation agreement beginning next season,” said Director of Athletics Ian McCaw. “This agreement provides a wide array of attractive bowl opportunities in exciting destinations for future Liberty football teams and Flames Nation.”
The secondary bowl agreement extends Liberty’s long-standing working relationship with ESPN. ESPN has an exclusive, multi-year agreement to broadcast Liberty’s home football games.
Through its ASUN Conference broadcast agreement with ESPN, all of Liberty's conference events (home and away) are now carried on ESPN+. Liberty also has agreements, which provide field hockey, ice hockey and other Club Sports events for airing on ESPN+.
The partnership between Liberty and ESPN has always involved live sports productions. Over the past two years, Liberty has produced more than 250 live sporting events for ESPN+, highlighted by the football broadcasts.
The bowl game agreement is Liberty Athletics’ second for its football program since announcing plans to move up to the FBS level on Feb. 16, 2017.
Last year, Liberty Athletics announced an individual secondary bowl agreement with the AutoNation Cure Bowl for the 2018 and 2019 seasons.
In the event either conference affiliated with the previously mentioned bowl games does not have enough deserving teams, defined as meeting the six qualifying win threshold, the secondary bowl agreement allows ESPN Events and its bowl game partners to place a bowl eligible Liberty team.
With an enrollment figure over 100,000 students, including 15,000 residential students, and 250,000 current alumni hailing from all 50 states and over 80 countries around the world, Liberty provides these seven bowl games with a fan base that is prepared to travel the country and see the Flames football program play in their first-ever FBS bowl game.
Liberty Athletics recently completed the two-year FBS reclassification process and enters the 2019 season as the 130th fully bowl eligible FBS team in the country.
ESPN Events Bowl Agreement for the 2020-25 Bowl Game Cycle:
Boca Raton Bowl
· FAU Stadium
· Boca Raton, Fla.
· Cramton Bowl
· Montgomery, Ala.
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
· Albertsons Stadium
· Boise, Idaho
Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl
· Toyota Stadium
· Frisco, Texas
Myrtle Beach Bowl
· Brooks Stadium
· Conway, S.C.
New Mexico Bowl
• Dreamstyle Stadium
• Albuquerque, N.M.
Football Season Tickets Remain On Sale
Excitement around Liberty’s football program has never been higher and Flames Nation can take their next step in supporting the Flames by purchasing their 2019 season tickets.
After seeing the Flames become the ninth team in NCAA history to win six or more games during their first season at the FBS level, college football’s highest level of competition, the Flames Ticket Office is excited to announce that 2019 season tickets are currently on sale.
Flames Nation can reserve their season tickets for as low as $70 per person for a general admission ticket at the renovated Williams Stadium, which now seats 25,000 fans.
By visiting www.LUFootball.com, fans can see the variety of numerous season ticket options available throughout the 2019 season.
Season ticket packages for Liberty’s six-game home schedule include: Club Level ($360), West Premium Chairbacks ($165), West Reserved Benchbacks ($130), West Reserved Benchbacks ($100), East Reserved Benchbacks ($85) and East General Admission ($70).
A season ticket package provides fans with significant savings over purchasing a single game ticket – up to 56 percent. Liberty opens its 2019 season on Aug. 31 when it hosts ACC opponent Syracuse, the first Power 5 opponent to visit Williams Stadium.
Fans can support Liberty Football by joining the Flames Club, which exists to underwrite Liberty Athletics' three-fold mission to train Champions for Christ, provide a world-class student-athlete experience and achieve victory with integrity.
Flames Club membership starts at just $60 and members can enjoy preferred parking, seating and pregame hospitality benefits, based upon membership level. For more information about the Flames Club, please call 434-582-CLUB (2582) or email FlamesClub@liberty.edu.
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