Fresh off a bye week and with a new QB under center, the Salina Liberty dominated the expansion Marshals in a 55-7 rout of Rapid City.
With a critical bounce-back win, Salina moves back above .500 at 3-2 while the Marshals fall to 1-4.
“It feels great to be back and I’m serenely happy that we came out and put a good performance up,” Salina HC Heron O’Neal said. “Offensively our goal was to score over 50 points and defensively we held them to seven, I’ll take that all day.”
All eyes in the Tony’s Pizza Events Center were on newly signed quarterback Vincent Espinoza, who put on a show in his CIF debut, with three touchdowns in a comfortable Liberty win.
Espinoza would complete 70% of his passes for over 100 yards and two TDs through the air, adding a QB sneak to get the scoring started.
Rookie Triston Gould would score the first touchdown of his Liberty career just before the quarter break, and in answer to Coach O’Neal’s challenge to create more turnovers, Tron Folsom housed a pick-six on the first play of the second quarter.
Espinoza’s first passing touchdown would come a short while later on a goal-line toss to Demarius Washington, and following a Tre Griffin scamper to put the Liberty ahead 34-0 Dewayne Autrey tacked on a second INT to send Salina into the half in style.
The Liberty continued to dominate in the second half, holding Rapid City off the board until the fourth quarter en route to the 55-17 win.
This was a true team victory as Salina looked steady in all three facets of the game, and it appears the search for Tyrie Adams’ successor may be at an end already after a stellar debut by Espinoza.
“I loved our kickoff game today and we had some explosions on return,” O’Neal said. “We need to clean some of those things up with a tough team in Billings coming in here next week. We have to get that killer instinct back.”
Salina will wrap up their three-game homestand when the Liberty host the Outlaws on Saturday, May 7.
This will be one of the final two Liberty games at home all season, to purchase tickets click here.