Improved defense has Frisco Liberty rolling

Frisco Liberty head coach Galen Zimmerman was confident his young defense would start to click at some point this season.

It came together at the best possible time.

Over the last four games, Liberty (11-0) has given up just 6.75 points per game, making Liberty an even safer pick to make a deep run in the playoffs heading into its Class 4A Division II area-round game against South Oak Cliff (10-1) on Friday at Mesquite’s E.H. Hanby Stadium.

“They’ve been playing well all year, it just took awhile for them to jell,” Zimmerman said.

Liberty’s impressive streak hasn’t come against bad competition either. It held Frisco Wakeland, which averaged 32.7 points per game this season, to just three points. It held a Richardson Pearce offense that averaged 31.5 points per game to 17 in a bi-district win last week.

Only three starters returned on defense from last season for Liberty. While its defense didn’t struggle early, it’s become a shutdown unit now that its new players have experience.

And it’s made a strong Liberty team even tougher. Already equipped with a dominant running game behind Boise State commit Jay Ajayi (1,734 yards, 30 touchdowns), undefeated Liberty has an average margin of victory of 33.4 points.

South Oak Cliff’s offense presents a stiff challenge for Liberty. It averages more than 400 yards per game, mostly because of its running game.

Quarterback Semaj Riley makes the offense go. He has 1,542 passing yards and 14 touchdowns on the year while adding 992 yards and 17 touchdowns on the ground. Running backs Paul Franklin and Johnny Humphrey both have more than 400 yards on the year.

“They’re physical kids,” Zimmerman said of South Oak Cliff. “They have a very versatile quarterback. They’re definitely dangerous. They have the potential for a big play all the time.”