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Rod Thornburg / Special to The Californian

Liberty senior Corbin Jountti (left) leads the Patriots against Clovis-Buchanan in a first-round Division I playoff game tonight.

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Rod Thornburg / Special to The Californian

#5 Triton Douglas of Frontier holds the ball securely as Liberty's #33 Jacob Thomas reaches for him and the ball.

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Rod Thornburg / Special to The Californian

Frontier's Justin Cash strips the ball from Liberty's #32 Kole Harl in the first quarter which, and later converted into a touch down.

With its biggest offensive star sidelined for the entire second half because of an injury, Frontier needed someone to step up and take charge against Southwest Yosemite League rival Liberty.

Justin Cash didn't hesitate.

The senior running back ran for 118 yards and two second-half touchdowns to carry Frontier to an important 27-10 victory over the Patriots on Friday night at Titan Stadium.

Cash became the focal point of Frontier's run-heavy offensive attack after Triton Douglas suffered a leg injury late in the first half.

"The second half I played for my brother," Cash said. "He's always been there for me. He's always carried this team. I know how to step up and make plays. I had to fill in for him. He's a big player on this team. He fills a big spot."

Douglas had 11 carries for 64 yards and a touchdown before leaving the game for good at that point.

Leading 9-3, Frontier took the second-half kickoff and went 80 yards on 15 plays.

Cash capped the drive with a twisting 11-yard touchdown run. Seconds later he ran for the two-point conversion as Frontier took control of the game and kept itself in prime position to win the SWYL title if it can beat Bakersfield High next week.

"A real big, real exciting win," Frontier coach Rich Cornford said. "(Triton) went down. We had some other people step up. The offensive line played great.

"Justin Cash obviously did a good job as did Evan Moore running our deal. And our defense was lights out. It was really a four-quarter great effort by our team. It's the first time in a couple of years that we've actually had that."

Liberty, which was hurt by two turnovers and eight penalties for 83 yards, answered Frontier's time-consuming drive with Christian Sinnott's 44-yard punt return for a touchdown.

But the Patriots could get no closer than 17-10 as Tyler Kempka kicked a 27-yard field goal with 7:37 remaining in the game.

Cash then sealed the victory with three minutes left, bursting free for a touchdown that earned him chest bumps and high fives when he got back to the Frontier sideline.

"This league, you better strap it up every week because every team can play some good football," Cornford said. "It's one of the top leagues in the whole state. We just need to keep getting better every week. This is not the end of the season. This is just a step in the right direction."

Despite being outgained 133-104 in the first half, Frontier led 9-3 at halftime.

The Patriots were hampered in the first half by a pair of Kole Harl fumbles.

The second one, recovered by Troy Banks, gave the Titans the ball on the Liberty 35-yard line.

Douglas took it from there, rushing 17 yards on the first play of the Titans ensuing drive before bulling his way 18 yards into the end zone, taking several Liberty defenders with him.

That score, coming midway through the second quarter, gave Frontier a 7-3 lead.

Liberty took the game's opening possession and marched 59 yards to setup a 38-yard Zack Sullivan field goal.

Frontier sacked Liberty quarterback Josh Medina twice in the first half, including once in the end zone for a safety with 2:27 left in the opening half.

The Frontier defense finished with four sacks.