CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – After making the playoffs in 2019, the Liberty Mountaineers missed out on the postseason last year despite finishing with a winning record at 4-3.
AJ Harman enters his eighth season at the helm, and says this is the smallest roster size he’s seen.
But what they lack in numbers, they make up for in physicality.
“We try to be a physical football team. The style of offense we play and style of defense we play, we count on physicality and these kids being tough and stronger and bigger,” said Harman. “Having the extra time that we didn’t have last year with the weight room is a huge benefit of ours.”
The Mountaineers return multiple players who made an impact last season, including a junior-filled line which put in work during the offseason that they want to see pay off.
“A lot of reps, a lot of time went into it in the offseason and just everyone doing their part,” said Ty Drake.
Liberty has depth in the backfield, too.
Seniors Raiden Childers and Preston Buckhannon, who returns this season from injury will likely carry the football plenty for Liberty.
“I’m just going to do what the team needs, be there when the team needs it and just try my best and give 110 percent at all times,” said Buckhannon.
Even with only a handful of seniors, this young team won’t be star struck, as almost everyone who will step on the field has varsity minutes.
“All of these kids got to play a lot so, even though we’re still somewhat young, not having a very big senior class, these kids all got a lot of playing time last year,” said Harman. “Without having JV last year, that could’ve hurt us but they played a lot of minutes in varsity and we’ll see how that translates this year.”
Liberty sees Elkins in its first contest of the season.