WATERLOO -- One thing is for sure with the 2019 Waterloo East football team.
The Trojans are going to give you a fight.
Friday night the Trojans (0-2) gave Class 3A's seventh-ranked Iowa City Liberty a battle to remember as the Lightning survived a 14-0 defensive struggle to improve to 2-0 on the season.
The Lightning took the opening drive and marched 64 yards in just four plays to take an early 7-0 lead, but things got tougher from there as the Trojans held strong.
"We are not the team that they have seen here before," said East coach Xavier Leonard. "These guys are fighters and they won't roll over for anybody. They showed that tonight against a very good team and were in the game the whole way.
"Now we have some things to clean up on offense, and the kids know that. We will get those things cleaned up and we are going to win a lot of games."
The Trojans were able to march between the 30-yard lines, but found different ways for promising drives to come to a halt. Penalties plagued East throughout the game with a dozen yellow flags that added up to 90 yards.
With the offense trying to find its way, the Trojan defense knew exactly where it was headed as it stuffed most of the Lightning's drives after the opening touchdown.
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The Trojans coughed up the ball on their initial drive, but the defense got the ball right back on a fumble to keep the score at 7-0.
The Lightning put together another long drive just before the half, but East got a stop on third down, then blocked a 33-yard field goal attempt to keep the deficit at 7-0 going into halftime.
"Our defense played lights-out all night," said Leonard.
The Trojans marched the field well to begin the second half, but came up short on a fourth-down play.
Liberty answered with a long drive, but also came up short as East forced a fumble at the 19-yard line.
A fourth-quarter drive by the Lightning resulted in a 16-yard scoring run by Kaleb Williams that made it 14-0.
Then, with the clock becoming the enemy for the Trojans, their last-ditch effort ended on downs and the Lightning killed the remaining time on the clock.
"We are close and the guys know it," added Leonard. "At the end of the game you could see they believe. They talked about getting up early to get to practice and warned their teammates that they had better be there or they won't play."