Salina Liberty Mid-Season Check-In

The Salina Liberty currently sit third in the Arena Football League standings with a record of 3 wins and 3 losses. They suffered a very close loss to the Southwest Kansas Storm in their Week 6 defeat, losing on a field goal with just 18 seconds left in the game.

In Week 5, they Regulated the Wichita Regulators, beating them down by a score of 54-25, asserting their capable dominance.

Now, let’s dive into the heart of the Salina Liberty team. At the helm is the seasoned Head Coach Heron O’Neal, a familiar face who’s been with the Liberty for five seasons and led the team to the 2022 CIF championship.


Under center, the Liberty have seen the dynamic duo of quarterbacks in action. Charles McCullum Jr, a record-setter and a force to be reckoned with, has taken the lead in most games. With a career that boasts of being the all-time leading passer in IFL history, a two-time champion, and a three-time MVP, McCullum Jr is a name that resonates with the fans. In the 2024 season, he’s thrown for an impressive 267 yards with five touchdown passes but has also faced some challenges with 7 interceptions in his four games.

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His running mate at quarterback has seen limited time, although he played the entire second half of last week’s game against the Storm. That’ll be a story to keep an eye on: Do the Liberty give the Keys back to McCullum, or do they roll with Jamario Benson?

Against the Storm last week, he had four rush attempts for 26 yards and a touchdown. His passing struggled, as did McCullum Jr.’s, going just 7-19 for 65 yards with an interception.

Skill Players

Tracy Brooks is a guy to keep your eye on. Salina doesn’t run much, and when they do it’s mostly with their quarterbacks. Tracy Brooks is second all-time in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns in CIF history. He led the CIF with 671 yards on the ground in 2023 to go along with 20 touchdowns.

Coach O’Neal called Brooks “the most unselfish superstar you will ever see.” While he’s listed as a running back for the Liberty, all of Brooks’ work is in the receiving game. He has 12 receptions for 131 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Deetray Matthews is the team’s defensive specialist and a specialist he is. Matthews is a veteran of arena football who’s played for the Wichita Force and previously with Salina.

He is tied for the league lead in solo tackles with 10, to go along with his three attacks and 1 tackle for loss, all coming in just four games played. In their Week 2 win against the Nashville Kats, Matthews grabbed 2 interceptions, one of which he returned for six.

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