Panthers win big on homecoming night 41-14

Panthers win big on homecoming night 41-14
By Joseph Garcia
Sports Editor

The Liberty Hill Panthers looked extremely sharp on both sides of the ball Friday night at Panther Stadium. The Panthers never underestimated the 1-5 Taylor Ducks for a second heading into the game and it showed on the field.

It looked as if it would be a shoot out early on, but once Liberty Hill got on a roll they scored 27 unanswered points to put Taylor out of reach as the Panthers improved to 2-0 in District 25-3A with a 41-14 flogging of the Ducks.

The first score of the game for Liberty Hill was set up after the Panther defense forced the Taylor Ducks to punt on its opening possession. The snap sailed over Taylor’s punter’s head, giving the Panthers the ball on the Duck 10.

All it took was one play for sophomore fullback Cory Ferrell to find the end zone. The quick score gave the Panthers an early 7-0 lead with 8:47 left in the first quarter.

After the Liberty Hill defense forced the Ducks to go three and out, they gook over at their own 39-yard line. From there, senior tailback Jonathan Johnston set the Panthers up with runs of 24 and 11 yards.

On first-and-goal, senior quarterback Kyle Hester called his own number and snuck it in from three yards out earning the Panthers a 14-0 lead with 4:33 remaining in the first.

Led by senior quarterback Jarvis Caldwell, the Taylor offense answered back after recovering a Liberty Hill fumble at the Panther 22.

Seven plays later on fourth-and-goal from the two-yard line, senior running back Emmett Wiggins found the goal line, cutting the lead in half 14-7 with 10:00 left in the second quarter.

Less than one minute later, the Panthers struck back when Johnston took the handoff from the Liberty Hill 32-yard line. Using exemplary vision and utilizing pinpoint blocking down the field, Johnston was met by teammates in the end zone after a 68-yard touchdown run. The score gave Liberty Hill a 21-7 advantage with 9:04 left in the half. Johnston finished the first half with 126 yards and a touchdown on seven rushes.

With senior fullback Brandan Corn likely out until playoff time (hand), the other running backs did their part to step up in his absence. One such back was senior Bo Simpson who did more than just carry the ball.

On third-and-seven from the Liberty Hill 44-yard line, Hester dropped back to pass and found a streaking, wide-open Simpson in the middle of the field. Simpson hauled in the pass and kept his balance before being tripped up at the five-yard line.

Simpson would not be denied as his number was called the very next play resulting in a five-yard touchdown run. The point after attempt was no good, but the TD was the dagger that gave the Panthers a 34-7 lead with only 8:47 left in the game.

No. 15 was not done yet as he added another score. Simpson made one cut up the field and he was gone for a 35-yard TD after he found a hole in the Duck defense.

The Ducks added a score late, but it was not nearly enough as Liberty Hill won big on Homecoming night, 41-14.

Up next for Liberty Hill are the Llano Yellow Jackets on the road Oct. 21 at 7:30.

For full story with quotes and stats, see the Oct. 20 edition of The Independent.