By EARL WATT
• Daily Leader
With starting quarterback Slader McVey watching in street clothes from the sidelines, the Redskins switched to rotating the quarterback and sticking to the ground game in a 28-0 victory over Wichita West Friday in front of a sparse crowd at Redskin Field.
Junior Isaac Gallegos turned in a dominating performance, averaging more than nine yards per carry while rushing for 166 yards and two touchdowns.
Junior Justin McPhail averaged seven yards per carry and rushed for 106 yards and a touchdown.
Senior Jade Cathey ended his career as a Redskins by rushing for 64 yards and scoring a touchdown, but he also fumbled twice inside the red zone.
In all, the Redskins rushed for 359 yards in their best rushing performance of the season.
With McVey sidelined with an injury, Liberal only attempted four passes all night.
Liberal rotated between Michael Sena, Cathey and McPhail at the quarterback position, and they either ran the ball or handed off to Gallegos, and most of the night, either choice was a good option.
The only thing stopping the Redskin offense was not Wichita West’s defense. It was the inordinate amount of penalties called in the game.
Liberal was whistled for more than 20 infractions.
“We were out of sync a little bit without our leader out there,” Liberal coach Wade Standley said. “Slader is not only a great play maker but he is a good leader. We got a little sloppy in the second half, but it was a great win for us.”
Liberal’s all-underclassmen line has come of age in the past three weeks, and Friday night, with the exception of penalties, opened up holes and sustained blocks well downfield for the Redskin rushing attack.
“They executed,” Standley said. “Isaac ran well, and we had Michael and Jade in there at quarterback. We only had a week to prepare without Slader.”
The Angry Red defense kept the Pioneers on their heels all night. Wichita West attempted reverses and tricky formations, but West offered no serious scoring threat all night.
A frustrating season eventually set in on the Pioneers (2-8) despite having a decided advantage in penalty calls. The Redskins were flagged for more than 20 penalties to West’s seven. Despite the disparity, two Pioneer coaches were dismissed from the field after back-to-back unsportsmanlike calls on the bench in the second half.
West only had two first downs against the Redskin defense, and both came on the Pioneers second drive of the game. After that, it was three-and-out all night.
The dominating Redskin performance gave the Redskins optimism for the 2011 campaign.
But Standley said that the path to the future was paved by the Redskin seniors who had to fight through a disappointing season.
“These seniors have been through some adversity,” he said. “They have been great examples to the underclassmen. They have established a great foundation. They’ve developed an attitude of toughness. Tyson Deaton and Jade Cathey were in on every offensive and defensive play. They did everything for us. They played with passion and were dedicated to a position.”
Liberal will be returning eight offensive starters for 2011, and for Standley that could be the beginning of a turnaround after two losing seasons.
“We are going to get to work t build on their legacy,” Standley said.