By Joseph Garcia
The Liberty Hill JV football team played its second-to-last home game on Oct. 25 at Panther Stadium, while trying to remain perfect on the season. And with the Burnet Bulldogs coming down SH 29 for a rivalry battle, the Panthers were looking to send them back home with a loss.
Liberty Hill’s JV team is seemingly firing on all cylinders at the present and has for the majority of the 2012 season, which was bad luck and timing for the visiting Bulldogs. Whenever Burnet had something positive go its way, Liberty Hill smashed any hope for an upset win as the Panthers controlled the game from start to finish for a 42-14 victory.
The win improved the Panthers’ unblemished record to 8-0 for the season and 3-0 in District 8-3A.
Liberty Hill’s first point came when quarterback Tyler Vickers bowled over a Burnet defender in the end zone for a 12-yard touchdown run. The Panthers added another score before the half when Hunter Lyndsay crossed the goal line on fourth-and-1 from the one. The PAT gave the Panthers a 14-0 edge at the half.
“It’s the same old thing,” said Liberty Hill Coach Robert Headrick. “Like Coach (John) Hall told the kids, that’s one thing about this offense, you might stop this play or that play, but eventually one of them is going to break open.”
In the second half, the Panthers did break things open.
After Jamychel Johnson tracked down a Burnet pass for an interception, the offense took over and scored in one play. After a nice play fake, Vickers tucked the ball and did not stop running until he crossed the goal line 71 yards later. The point after put the Panther up 21-0 with 6:29 left in the third.
Liberty Hill’s offense looked unstoppable at times Thursday night.
“That’s what happened,” Headrick said of the offense. “Tyler Vickers ran for 71 yard on one play and (Lucas) Rizzotto broke loose for a 40-something yard run, we had some big runs and that’s what this offense plays on.”
Burnet did manage to score before the third quarter was over on a four-yard TD run to close the game 21-7 with 2:41 in the third quarter. But Liberty Hill did not take long to respond.
It took a seven-play drive, capped off with a 24-yard touchdown strike from Vickers to Alex Rosales, giving Liberty Hill a 28-7 advantage early in the fourth.
The Bulldogs were able to muster one more score against a tough and stingy Panther defense, before the offense punched it in twice more.
Gabe Shoemaker scored on an 11-yard TD run and Alec Hershberger took the ball in from six yards out, putting the final score at 42-14 with the Panthers on top for the eighth time this season.
“Defensively, like Coach (John) Hall also said, it was the hardest he’s heard them hit in a while,” Headrick said. “Three or four weeks ago we hit like this, but we haven’t seen it in a while. Now we are trying to turn around and be the intimidator, so hopefully we’ll keep on that path for two more games at least.”
On the slate next for Liberty Hill is the final home game for the JV team ever at Panther Stadium when Lampasas comes to town. The Badgers also run the Slot-T, so the Panthers will be ready. But getting the ninth win of the season will not be easy, said Headrick.
“Lampasas always plays us tough and they run the same offense as we do,” he said. “We’ll see with their new head coach how they run that offense.”
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 1.