February 15, 2007
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LHS Sports Page
'Tradition Never Graduates' for Football Team
by Andrew Cass, Staff Writer

For the second straight season, the LHS football team overcame a disappointing loss and went on a late season run that took them all the way to the state championship game. This season, however, the team had to overcome losing seniors to graduation and starters to injuries.

For one thing, the team lost 22 seniors from the 2005 season, including Andres Morales, Andrew Lee, and Charles Irvin, who all played significant roles in getting the team to states last season.

Nonetheless, the team found a way to make it to states. They grew together to fill the gaps as they worked harder than ever before.

“This season the team was more of a team, more of a family, and much more closer than last year’s team. I think the kids realized that although we didn’t have as much talent as the previous team we could work together to go just as far, ” Moncman said.

rs stepped up this year, including running back Ahkeem Smith, ‘08, who had 28 rushing touchdowns; wide receiver/safety Joey Orlando, ‘08, who led the team in receiving yards; Mike Hitchings, ‘07, who was a reliable center and middle linebacker; and Bethlehem Catholic transfer Allen Petros, ‘07, who led the team in tackles and sacks.

Cheering Section
photo by Jaime McGavin
Liberty and Upper St. Claire line up early in the game. Although USC prevailed, the ‘Canes other achievements, like repeating as PIAA Eastern Division Champs, were extremely impressive.
Cheering Section
photo by Jaime McGavin
The crowd goes wild during the intense Becahi game. The Senior cheering section brought their intensity to every game this past season, and increased support even more during the 'Canes march through the PIAA playoffs.

While they dealt with losing many seniors they also had to deal with many more injuries than last year. The first loss to injury this season was senior Matt Rice. Rice started the first few games at fullback and outside linebacker, but was sidelined after a shoulder injury. Fellow senior Ray Mamuzich replaced him at both positions and had a good season on both sides of the ball.

The next injury was to senior wide receiver/cornerback Ray Olivo. Olivo, who led the Hurricanes in catches and touchdown receptions and was third in interceptions, injured his leg in the second Easton game. He was replaced offensively by junior Justin Rivera and defensively by the Associated Press’s Pennsylvania 4A player of the year, Dan Persa. Then, during the semi-
final game against Pennsbury, Hitchings was injured by a Pennsbury player.

Many players and coaches feel that injuries played an important part in the team’s 47-13 loss to Upper Saint Claire.

“It was tough; they are a very good football team. It’s tough to play a states game without two of your key players, Mike Hitchings and Ray Olivio,” said Moncman.

“Injuries took away at least three of our starters away. I think we could have done a lot better if they were playing,” Rice added.

“[Injuries] definitely had an affect. We were down to our third and fourth string linebackers,” said Mark Pastor, who is one of the team’s many assistant coaches.

Though the team is disappointed that they were unable to win states, they are very optimistic about how their season went.

“Nobody gave us a shot [to win districts]. We lost 22 seniors [from last season]. Just making the playoffs was an accomplishment, and then we ended up winning districts [again],” Orlando stated. “It’s always an honor to go to states in back-to-back years.”
The team is losing many of its best players due to graduation, including Persa, who was a four year starter at Liberty and was one of the best players in the state the past two seasons. Losing players of that caliber is always difficult, but the team has many talented underclassmen who are very capable of stepping up next season.

Orlando and fellow junior wide receiver/safety Justin Rivera both had good seasons and are expected to be impact players on both sides of the ball next year. Junior Chris Smith filled in at center a few times during the season. If Ahkeem Smith, who wasn’t even the starter at the beginning of the year, can continue to be a reliable rusher and scorer, the team will be in good shape next season and could be contenders again next fall.
Some might think the seniors are leaving behind a legacy. Most football players never make it to the state championship once, let alone twice. The two year run that Liberty had is something that will never be forgotten.

Moncman said, “In the end it’s tough to lose but great to be back for a second year.”

Girls Soccer
Moncman Hitchings
photos by Jaime McGavin
The crowd goes wild during the intense Becahi game. The Senior cheering section brought their intensity to every game this past season, and increased support even more during the 'Canes march through the PIAA playoffs.
Head Coach Tim Moncman, overlooking the play during the State Championship game, has been at the heart of the ‘Canes success the last two years. Mike Hitchings, despite missing the state final game, played an integral part in a ‘Canes defense that grew stronger as the season continued.
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