Lancers' return to title game a long time coming

Liberty will play for a state football championship for the first time since they won it all in 1992.

Liberty High School is so excited for Friday, it's already canceled classes.

"Twenty-four years," Lancers head coach Mike Dewey said. "It's been a long time."

Liberty is back in the championship game for the first time since 1992.

"We knew if any year was the year, this would be it," senior wide receiver and safety Chase Burnham said.

The 24-year journey to the Tacoma Dome is actually 10 years in the making.

"I've been practicing with these guys since I've been seven years old," senior quarterback Garrett Rogers said."

Burnham added, "We started out, we were in these little leagues. We're playing Spangle and Fairfield and we always clashed with each other."

Dewey also said, "They actually came together in junior high and went undefeated--unscored upon in the 8th grade."

These 14 seniors slowly rebuilt the Lancers program. In 2013, the squad went 2-8. The next season the team snagged three more wins going 5-5. Another three wins came in 2015 along with the first postseason victory in 23 years. Finally, with one game remaining on the schedule, the Lancers are a remarkable 12-1 in 2016.

"It's just kind of weird to think about coming from freshman year up to here how much we've grown over the years as a unit," Rogers said.

Dewey added, "There are other teams that are more athletic than us, have more experience than us, but there's nobody as together as we are."

Camaraderie will continue to challenge that experience as Liberty takes on Napavine, a school that has made the postseason eight straight years with three consecutive trips to the 2B championship game.

"The lights can be pretty bright," Dewey said. "We preached all week and I'm stealing this directly from Beau Baldwin, 'Let it rip.' Go out there and play with confidence. We're not afraid of the moment.

And why should they be? They've been preparing for this game almost their whole lives.

"We've all been rising up together, kind of waiting for this time. It's something we've been working for and we know it's our turn and we're ready for it," Burnham said.


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