The quest for perfection no longer exists for the Salina Liberty.
The Omaha Beef scored the last 20 points of the game, including a touchdown with 12 seconds left, to edge the Liberty, 39-35, Saturday night in Omaha. Salina dropped to 8-1 overall, 7-1 in the Champions Indoor Football League. The Liberty need to win one of their last two contests to ensure home field advantage throughout the postseason.
Omaha and Salina traded blows throughout the first half. However, it appeared the Liberty grabbed complete control in the third quarter.
Quarterback Mitch Kidd found receiver Jauhem Byrd for a four-yard touchdown to go up 35-19 with 3:01 left in the frame.
The game quickly soured for the Liberty as the Beef scored three times in the final 17 minutes. Kicker Jimmy Allen missed his second field goal try of the game in the fourth and Kidd ended up an inch shy of a first down that could have allowed the Liberty to run out the remaining clock.
With Salina clinging to a 35-32 advantage, Kidd picked up a huge first down with under two minutes left. Omaha used two timeouts and the one-minute warning to set up a crucial fourth and two. The Beef came up with the stop and scored moments later.
The Liberty did reach the Omaha 19-yard line with three seconds remaining on the ensuing drive, but Salina failed to reach the end zone for the win.
Kidd was 19-of-30 passing for 196 yards and four touchdowns, all four to Byrd. Byrd had nine catches for 96 yards and four scores.
Salina returns to the Tony’s Pizza Events Center for a showdown with Sioux City. Kickoff is slated for 6:30pm.