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25 Days of Christmas: No. 19 Liberty

Hunter Steacker throws at a Liberty practice on Oct. 22, 2020. Chris Jackson / Staff Photo
Hunter Steacker throws at a Liberty practice on Oct. 22, 2020. Chris Jackson / Staff Photo

It’s the seventh day of the 25 Days of Christmas preseason rankings for West Coast Preps, this time with the No. 19 team.

The rankings, which will tab the top 25 football teams in the Bay Area, announce one team each day through Christmas Day. The No. 1 team will be unveiled on Dec. 25 at WestCoastPreps.com.

Only schools located within cities on the Bay Area Census are eligible for the poll.

West Coast Preps unveiled the No. 25, No. 24, No. 23, No. 22, No. 21 and No. 20 football teams in the Bay Area earlier this week.

No. 19: Liberty

It’s a new era at Liberty after its best stretch in school history.

Ryan Partridge is now at Ferris State as an assistant coach, which followed an incredible run for the Lions on the gridiron. They compiled a remarkable 34-5 record during his time at the school, highlighted by the program’s first-ever state title in 2018.

Now, Matt Hoefs takes over the reins, and he has a young and talented roster that those around the team in Brentwood are excited about.

Liberty does lose an incredible batch of talent, featuring quarterback Jay Butterfield (a former four-star recruit who is at the University of Oregon), a 1,000-yard rusher, its top three receivers and its top three tacklers. Additionally, four-star defensive end – and Cal commit – Akili Calhoun will not play his senior season to enroll early at Cal, while sophomore quarterback Jaden Rashada transferred out of the program, and after a brief stay at IMG Academy, is at Pittsburg.

But, while that’s plenty of marquee names gone, the culture is intact for the former Partridge assistant in Hoefs, who also already boasts head coaching experience at places like Arroyo and Dublin.

And wasn’t it an Iowa State player who said a five-star culture beats five-star talent?

Hoefs and company return junior linebacker/safety Colin Borrelli (49 tackles and five tackles for loss) and senior receiver Leo Reichhold (253 yards and two touchdowns), and the two quarterbacks vying for the starting spot – sophomore Nate Bell and junior Hunter Steacker – have each impressed during the camp and showcase season this fall.

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