The third-ranked Patriots put four quarters and two overtimes of offensive frustration behind them to clinch the first semifinal appearance for longtime coach Steve Valach.

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ISSAQUAH — Jake Bainton limped off the field, his hand nursing the back of his right leg and favoring the ankle that has bothered him for weeks.

“Both are hurting, but I don’t even care,” he said. “I’m just so pumped.”

Moments earlier, Bainton had leapt on a fade route and brought down one of the biggest touchdowns of the high-school football season, the deciding score in Liberty’s 20-17 triple-overtime victory against Lindbergh in the Class 3A quarterfinals.

With one throw, an 8-yard touchdown from Trey Wheeler to Bainton, the third-ranked Patriots put four quarters and two overtimes of offensive frustration behind them to clinch the first semifinal appearance for longtime coach Steve Valach.

“A fade route from Trey Wheeler to Jake Bainton is always a high-percentage play,” Valach said.

The Patriots (11-1), who were eliminated in the quarterfinals last season, advance to play the winner of today’s game between Mount Spokane and Lakes of Lakewood. If Lakes wins, the game will be at the Tacoma Dome; if Mount Spokane wins, the game will be in Spokane.

For many moments, though, it looked as if the Patriots would not get this far, particularly with Lindbergh on the precipice of a go-ahead score midway through the fourth quarter. The Eagles (10-2) had first down at the Liberty 4, yet walked away with no points after a missed 20-yard field goal. It was one of many stops for Liberty’s defense, which had six interceptions.

The Patriots led 14-0 in the second quarter after a pair of Chandler Jenkins touchdown runs, but Lindbergh did not allow the Patriots to threaten again until overtime. The Eagles relentlessly put pressure on Wheeler, forcing him into two interceptions and forcing several long-distance third downs.

“They played crazy, crazy defense on us,” Valach said. “We were out of rhythm all night.”

The Eagles got back into the game with a pair of long touchdowns from their athletic backfield. Frank Cange took a screen pass 32 yards for a second-quarter touchdown, and Bakari Davis strode 77 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter.

The teams were scoreless after that until the third overtime. In the first overtime, when Liberty intercepted Lindbergh and only needed a field goal to win, the Eagles defense came through with a fumble recovery to stay alive.

“Our defense has been the cornerstone of our team all year,” Lindbergh coach Pat O’Grady said.

Liberty went first in the second overtime and missed a 39-yard field goal wide left. Then it was the Patriots’ turn to force a turnover. Devin Bennett intercepted Matt Stuart’s pass in the end zone to force the third overtime.

Derrick Holt kicked a 21-yard field goal to put Lindbergh ahead 17-14, but two plays into Liberty’s final possession, the Patriots went back to the combination that worked all season: Wheeler to Bainton, who did not practice this week because of his ankle.

Bainton, after catching the ball, threw off his helmet and sprinted 50 yards to meet his teammates at midfield. Only then, did he realize his leg had cramped up once again.

He didn’t mind.

“I don’t even know what to say right now,” he said.