Sunrise Mtn.-Liberty FB game notes: Liberty pulls away again

September 22, 2012 by Jose Garcia, AZPreps365

Like last year, Sunrise Mountain walked into its Friday night game against rival Liberty with a 4-0 record.

But unlike last year’s 64-29 loss, Liberty didn’t run over Sunrise Mountain in the first half of Friday’s game. It just waited until the second half started to pull away from Sunrise Mountain and did so as quickly as the 2 ½ mile bus trip Sunrise Mountain took to return to its school Friday night.

Three quick third quarter touchdowns broke open a game that was tied at 21 at halftime, allowing Liberty (5-0) to run away once again, this time with a 56-21 victory.

“All I told my players at halftime was to settle down and not panic,” Liberty coach Dan Filleman said.

Filleman’s squad opened the third quarter with a Caleb Robinson 47-yard touchdown catch, a Kyle Harms 72-yard touchdown run and a 40-yard interception touchdown return against a Sunrise Mountain team that played well in the first half.

But turning the ball over six times, as Sunrise Mountain did on Friday, didn’t allow Sunrise Mountain to keep up with Liberty’s offense.

More WR weapons for Liberty

Sunrise Mountain tried to keep Liberty quarterback Tyler Rogers’ No. 1 receiving option, Brandon Murphy, from getting open.

But this year Liberty has a lot more receiving options than last year. This season it has about six receivers who can step in and get open for one of the state’s better quarterbacks.

Rogers threw touchdown passes to three different receivers, including Murphy, on Friday.

“I can go to anyone and know they are going to make a play and be confident in every throw,” Rogers said.    

University of Utah coaches attended Friday’s game to watch Rogers play.

Masters mastering his position

Sunrise Mountain’s Elroy Masters didn’t start playing football until his freshman season.

Basketball was his first love, but Masters now prefers to outjump football defenders instead of shooting jumpers. After playing on defense and offense his freshman season, Masters opted to focus on just mastering the wide receiver position.

The Sunrise Mountain senior hasn’t yet earned his black belt as a wide out, but he is quickly learning to chop up defenses. This season, he had accounted for 650 of the team 1,012 receiving yards and 10 of the team’s 32 touchdowns before Friday night’s sellout at rival Liberty.

On Friday he outran a defender to score a 64-yard touchdown in the first quarter. Sunrise Mountain has another tall and athletic wide receiver option in Sam Diggs.

“I wanted to master it (wide receiver position) and the details of it,” Masters said.

It only took four games for San Jose State to take notice of Masters’ skills.

Masters only played four games last season because of a collar bone injury, but last year’s game footage was enough for San Jose State to offer Masters (6-3, 4.45 speed) a full scholarship first this season.

Wyoming also has a full offer on the table. But Masters also is talking to 12 other schools, he said.

“This is the start,” Masters said. “I have to stay humble with it.”

A salute to Sunrise Mountain’s service

Sunrise Mountain coach James Carter always has his players do community service projects.

But this year he had his players step up their community outreach. A couple of players took the initiative of contacting several organizations, including those that serve veterans, children, the homeless, elementary schools, and Habitat for Humanity.

“The whole team did it, but the captains were put in charge,” Carter said. “We kicked it up another notch in the community this year.”

Friends but still rivals

Carter and Filleman and Liberty’s new defensive coordinator, Mark Smith, know each other well.

Carter and Filleman coached for three years at Ironwood, and Smith and Carter are very good friends.

“We run the same terminology and are good friends, but it’s still a full rivalry,” said Carter, whose program is now 0-4 against Liberty.