BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — It's a new season for Liberty this week as the Patriots prepare for postseason following a bye week.
And a year ago this team was playing for a valley championship, a game they are once again chasing, this time playing for redemption.
The Pats secured their third straight league title with a win over Bakersfield two weeks ago earning the No. 3 seed in division one of the Central Section playoffs.
This team is riding that momentum into this week as they look to host Clovis West in the second round of the tourney. And for Head Coach Bryan Nixon, who has been coaching for over two decades and with Liberty for seven seasons it’s all about setting a standard.
"It's the culture that they've embraced and kind of followed the process, this is what they expect. They expect to be in a good position going into the playoffs, they expect to be playing for a league title and now we expect to be playing for a valley title,” Nixon said.
And the Patriots have managed to keep with the trend despite losing key players to graduation, but the players have bought into coaches motto.
“I think as long as guys buy into that process, we are going to be a threat all year,” senior receiver Jake O’Connell said.
The first threat to their plans is that they may be without starting quarterback Haden Mann who is dealing with knee inflammation, but it was back-up Brady Torrigiani who beat the Golden Eagles earlier in the season and the team will be behind whoever starts under center.
“It’s never to be held to a lower standard whether we have someone or not, I feel like we still got to come out there and compete,” senior receiver Ramon Henderson said.
“We have tons of confidence, I think we are playing the best we’ve played all year which is what you want to do,” O’Connell said.