Stratton/Liberty strikes early to beat Kit Carson for the 6-man football title

(JJ Seaward/

STRATTON — Stratton/Liberty got some redemption for their only regular-season loss, using a big first quarter to defeat Kit Carson 57-18 to claim the 6-man state football championship.

"It is an amazing feeling — tough loss during the regular season — but we knew that we just had to get back to work and it was time to go again," Stratton/Liberty sophomore Jaret Lichty said. "We knew that we were probably going to see them again, and when it was time to see them we were ready to go." 

During the regular season, Kit Carson (11-1) handed Stratton/Liberty (12-1) their lone loss of the season in a 28-21 nailbiter at Kit Carson High School.

Putting that loss behind them, the Knighted Eagles used their home field advantage on Saturday to jump up to a quick 23-0 lead to close out the first quarter due to a couple of touchdowns from senior running back Ethan Richmond and Jaret Lichty.

"They just came out ready to play," Stratton/Liberty head coach Toby Kechter said, "probably getting beat last year in the state championship was the best thing that could happen for this team. They were just focused and ready to play."

Looking to put a stop to the bleeding, Kit Carson was able to kick off the second quarter with a touchdown of their own to cut into the Stratton/Liberty lead. Carrying some momentum, Kit Carson continued to dig into the lead as Chris Bryan found the end zone to make it 23-12.

But Stratton/Liberty continued to be lifted by the phenomenal performance from Lichty, who closed out the second quarter with two more touchdowns to help the Knighted Eagles take a firm 37-12 lead into halftime.

"At halftime, he just said that the game is not over yet, we have to go and win the second half and that is how we played all season, we just had to keep on going," Lichty said.

Lichty continued to have a phenomenal showing, as he opened up the third quarter with another rushing touchdown to extend Stratton/Liberty's lead.

Closing out the game, Stratton/Liberty senior fullback Eltan Yarger put the game to bed with a couple of rushing touchdowns to help the Knighted Eagles come away with the 57-18 victory to claim the 6-man state title.