The Liberty Patriots found themselves in familiar territory to start the 2019 football season: In the win column.
Liberty went up early, tacked on a touchdown just before halftime, and rode a suffocating defensive effort to a 24-0 road victory over Paso Robles on Friday.
The game was played at Flamson Middle School near the central coast.
The Patriots, one of Bakersfield's premier programs, wasted little time picking up where they left off from last season, when they finished 12-2 and advanced to the Central Section Division I title game.
After Liberty stuffed Paso Robles on the game's opening possession, the Patriots scored on their first drive of the season. Ramon Henderson set things up with a long run and Cris Muniz took it into the end zone on a short TD scamper, as Liberty went ahead 7-0.
The Patriots closed out the first half on a 98-yard scoring drive to take a 14-0 advantage into the locker room. Quarterback Haden Mann hit Ramon Henderson for a 70-yard gain and then followed that up with a 5-yard TD run of his own.
That was more than enough for a defense that didn't allow Paso Robles' run-first offense to gain any traction.
"The kids did a really good job adjusting. I'm really proud of our defensive effort," said head coach Bryan Nixon.
"They played well, they played hard. It's a good start. We have to now go home, watch film and get ready for Week 2."
The Patriots will play in Bakersfield next Friday, when they take the field at Ridgeview.