Panthers lose to Badgers, 21-17

Panthers lose to Badgers, 21-17
By Joseph Garcia
Sports Editor

LAMPASAS – It was a heavy weight slugfest for the District 25-3A title Friday night at Badger Stadium.

When all was said and done in what was a back and forth battle, the Lampasas badgers outlasted the Liberty Hill Panthers, scoring the go-ahead points with 23 seconds left to win the game 21-17.

Liberty Hill took the lead 17-14 with 2:36 left to play, but a pass interference penalty gave the Badgers the ball at the Panther 14. Three plays later, senior running back Marcus Kehoe punched it in from the two-yard line to give Lampasas a 21-17 lead with 23 ticks left on the clock.

The Panthers moved the ball down to their own 41, but were unable to make anything happen as the finals second waned in what was a thrilling matchup of two high-quality football teams.

Liberty Hill received the ball first, but the Badgers forced a punt. When Lampasas started over on downs, they used an impressive drive that started at their own 24-yard line.

After five first downs that included a fourth-and-seven conversion, Lampasas quarterback Brandon Scott completed a pass to Secody Howard to the Liberty Hill 18. Scott capped the 12 play drive with a one-yard touchdown run to give the Badgers a 7-0 lead with 6:06 remaining in the first quarter.

The Panthers defense held strong, forcing a punt and giving the offense another shot to score. Two plays later, it was sophomore fullback Cory Ferrell who took the handoff up the middle, outrunning Lampasas defenders en route to the end zone for a 65-yard touchdown. The highlight score tied the game 7-7 with 10:34 to play in the half.

Lampasas had an exceptional opportunity to score again when they drove down inside the Liberty Hill 20. But consecutive tackles for losses by the Panther defense brought up a fourth-and-nine from the Liberty Hill 25. On the play, sophomore defensive back Gary Denson broke up a Scott pass in the end zone, intended for senior Jordan Lopez.

The Badgers almost scored again right before the half, but Josh Barbero sailed a 37-yard attempt wide left to end the first half of play.

Lampasas won the time of possession battle in the first half using 34 runs to the Panthers’ 14 carries, but the scoreboard was even heading into the locker room.

The two sides traded points throughout the second half, but Lampasas had the ball last and made the most of its last possession, which resulted in a game-winning drive to claim the district title.

Next for the Panthers is senior night against rival Burnet Friday, Nov. 4, then a playoff matchup in a cat-fight with the Navarro Panthers of District 26-3A Friday, Nov. 11.

For full story with stats and quotes, see the Nov. 3 edition of The Independent.