Panthers scratch out Blackcats
By Joseph Garcia
The Liberty Hill offense continues to get stronger.
Picking up right where he left off, senior fullback Brandan Corn took the handoff on the first offensive play of the game for the Liberty Hill Panthers and scampered around the right side of the line and didn’t stop until he reached the end zone for a 70-yard touchdown.
Corn finished the first half with 162 yards rushing and a touchdown on only 12 carries and added another score leading the Panthers to a 43-13 blowout of the visiting Mexia Blackcats.
The game wasn’t always played with a big lead as the Blackcats showed their veraciousness early when they responded to the Panthers’ first score right away. The Blackcats responded with a 45-yard touchdown strike from sophomore quarterback Kaylon Watson to senior wide receiver Afrom Banks to tie the game 7-7 with 8:43 to play in the first quarter.
After the Blackcat score, the Panthers’ defense imposed its will against a fairly large Mexia offensive line. The defense allowed only two first downs after the score and four total in the first half.
The Panthers outgained the Blackcats 309 yards to 170 (296 rushing, 13 passing) in the first half of play with senior Bo Simpson adding 71 yards and a touchdown on seven carries.
After Simpson put the Panthers into Blackcat territory with a 47-yard run to the 37, senior Jonathan Johnston put them in scoring position with a first down run to the five. From there, Simpson took the handoff and scored from five yards out giving Liberty Hill a 14-7 lead with 1:34 left in the first quarter. It was the most points scored in the first quarter so far this season for the Panthers.
After the Simpson score, the defense did its job forcing punts and giving the ball back to the offense giving Liberty Hill quarterback Kyle Hester the opportunity to do something he had not all season – throw a touchdown.
On first-and-10, Hester took the snap, rolled to his left and found a wide open Johnston waiting in the end zone for a 14-yard touchdown with 8:55 left to play in the second quarter. With the point after, the score was 21-7 going into the half.
The Liberty Hill special teams kept the momentum going in the second half for the Panthers as senior Cody Turner took the opening kickoff 85 yards to the house, increasing the lead 28-7 after a Jadon Boatright extra point.
After a slew of Mexia penalties and four first downs, the Panthers lined up at the Blackcat three and pounded it in for six with Corn for his second score of the game. A two-point conversion run by Johnston increased the Liberty Hill lead 36-13 with 7:36 left to play in the contest.
The Panthers added another score as they successfully defended their home field for the third time this season giving Liberty Hill a 3-2 record heading into its bye week.
Up next for Liberty Hill is its 25-3A opener when it takes on Salado on the road Oct. 7.
For full story with stats and quotes, see the Sept. 29 edition of The Independent.