By EARL WATT
• Daily Leader
With the promise of one day getting his chance, Arnold Dinh continued to practice and prepare for the chance of carrying the football in a game.
When opportunity knocked, Dinh answered. Five times.
The senior tailback rushed for 175 yards and five touchdowns after starting tailback Michael Cummins suffered an apparent concussion early against Valley Center Friday night in a 61-0 Redskin win.
“I was excited and exhausted,” Dinh said. “I really didn’t have any time to celebrate after the third one. I was just too tired.”
Dinh knew that the starting job wasn’t his early in the year.
“Michael Cummins and Charles Turner were just better than I was at practice,” he said. “I knew this was my chance. I had to prove myself and be in shape.”
Dinh wasted little time in proving he belonged on the field. The first time he touched the ball, he darted 19 yards for a touchdown.
Four carries later, Dinh broke free for a 23-yard touchdown run.
And then a 27-yard touchdown run.
And a three-yard touchdown run.
And a 69-yard touchdown run.
“Thanks to Jesus for giving me the strength and faith to do this,”
While Dinh gave Liberal control of the ground, Slader McVey took control of the air. The junior quarterback turned in his best performance of the season, completing seven of nine attempts for 163 yards and three touchdowns and no interceptions.
Other than three kicks out of bounds on kick-offs, the Redskin special teams also shined. Liberal blocked a punt and a field goal attempt. The blocked field goal was returned 73 yards by Bryce Johnson for a touchdown.
The Angry Red defense only gave up one sustained drive to the Hornets, but no points were surrendered. Lavondrick Martin also intercepted Valley Center’s Nate Williams and returned the ball 40 yards.
The Redskin defense held the Hornets to 138 yards of offense.
Liberal’s first score came with a short field after the Redskins blocked Valley Center’s first punt of the night.
After a one-yard run form Cummins, McVey hit Jade Cathey for a 26- yard touchdown pass and a 6-0 lead.
Later in the first quarter, Cummins rushed down the sideline for a 39- yard gain, but was disoriented after the play.
Dinh came in and rushed 19 yards for a touchdown and a 13-0 Redskin lead.
Valley Center put together a 20-play drive that stalled inside the Redskin 20 yard line. The Hornets attempted a field goal, but it was blocked and Johnson scooped up the loose ball and returned in 73 yards for a touchdown and a 20-0 Redskin lead.
After Martin’s interception on the next Valley Center drive, McVey found an open Tyson Deaton for a 26-yard touchdown pass and a 27-0 Redskin lead.
Early in the third quarter, McVey faked a pass to the flat and again found Deaton for a 54-yard touchdown reception and a 33-0 lead.
Valley Center moved the ball into Redskin territory and attempted to convert a fourth and six, but Williams was sacked by Kedrick Eyle for an 11-yard loss to end the threat.
Three plays later, Dinh rushed for a 23-yard touchdown and a 40-0 lead.
Less than two minutes later, Dinh was back in the ned zone after a 27- yard touchdown run.
Liberal’s longest drive of the night came after McVey completed a pass to Devin Davis for 12 yards and then was relieved by back-up Michael Sena. The Redskins went on a 15-play, 85-yard drive that ended with a DInh three-yard touchdown and a 54-0 lead.
With back-ups playing, Dinh broke loose on a 69 yard touchdown run with two minutes to play and a 61-0 final.
“Dinh is a testament to hard work and character,” Liberal coach Wade Standley said. “When his number was called he was ready. He had a great game.”
The win gave Liberal a 1-0 record in district play which tied them with Bishop Carroll for the lead. The top two teams qualify for post- season play.
Liberal will travel to Wichita to face Wichita West who lost to Carroll 55-0.