By Ethan Preston
Mercer Island, playing with a 6-1 record against KingCo competitor Liberty, was defeated 27-0 on Friday night.
Wide Receiver, Safety and Kick Returner Cole Miller’s absence with an injury was noticeable tonight with Mercer Island failing to put up any points.
Adding to the night’s festivities was All Island Band Night, accompanied by food trucks and a special halftime performance from the high school, middle school and elementary school marching band.
From kickoff, Liberty took full possession of the game, consistently penetrating the Mercer Island defense, running for a touchdown and draining the clock significantly on the first drive.
However, Mercer Island defensive end Mark Mangino demonstrated dominance and leadership from the first snap, making several tackles just in the opening drive.
When Mercer Island took its first possession of the game, it was clear the offense was struggling. Liberty’s strong blitz from its front seven ripped through the Mercer Island offensive line, limiting any gain from the offense.
Liberty quarterback Sam Brown, who recently overcame open heart surgery, illustrated his resilience on the field tonight with quick athleticism and a strong passing arm.
Mercer Island proceeded through the rest of the first half with minimal gain, with -1 yard of total offense and several three and outs. Liam Rogan eventually substituted for Clay Dippold at quarterback, nearing the conclusion of the second quarter.
At the beginning of the third quarter, Hunter Johnson’s kickoff return for a touchdown was unfortunately called back by an illegal block in the back.
In next couple of drives, Mercer Island had a series of successful returns and put themselves in Liberty territory. Junior Clay Dippold was put back in the game. These efforts were cut short when the team failed to convert on fourth down for consecutive turnovers on downs.
Liberty, meanwhile, continued to exert their dominance over the home team. They exemplified their strong running game, and had a variety of running backs rush for over 20 yards.
Liberty eventually ran the score up to 27-0, concluding Mercer Island’s All Island Band Night with a shutout loss.
WIth this defeat, Mercer Island advance to 6-2 overall and 2-2 in KingCo play, diminishing their playoff hopes. They will fight for a final spot in the playoffs against rival Bellevue on Friday Oct. 26 at home.