GAME DAY: Liberty Hill vs Connally – 7:30pm Sept 19 @Waco Connally
Liberty Hill: 2-1, 0-0 District 14-4A Div. I (Week 0 La Grange 24, Liberty Hill 7; Week 1 Liberty Hill 49, Brenham 47; Week 2 Liberty Hill 43, Brownwood 36) Waco Connally: 2-1, 0-0 District 7-4A Div. II (Week 0 Connally 63, Cameron Yoe 49; Week 1 Connally 40, China Spring 35; Week 2 Gatesville 34, Connally 20)
Liberty Hill: The Panthers won their second straight game after their season-opening loss to La Grange. Liberty Hill rushed for 391 yards in its 43-36 non-district win over Brownwood at Panther Stadium. Senior QB Nick Hernandez, in his third varsity start at the position, rushed for 117 yards and three TDs in the second half. He finished with a team-best 142 yards on 10 carries. Junior FB Jon Shannon picked up 116 yards and two scores on 10 carries in the first half before leaving with a hand injury. “First, I have to thank my linemen, because without the linemen a running back is nothing. My second thought was, ‘That was pretty cool. I hope my mom saw it,’” Hernandez said.
Connally: The Cadets suffered their first loss of the season, 34-20 in Gatesville, after opening with high-scoring wins against Cameron Yoe and China Spring. There may not have been as many points scored, but there was plenty of offense – Gatesville and Connally combined for 823 yards. RB Josh Terrell, QB Kristian Brown, who led the Cadets with 193 yards on 19 carries, and WR Israel Williams all found the end zone, but the offense couldn’t produce as it has in the first two games. “I know we’re a much better football team than what we showed against Gatesville. They didn’t do anything we hadn’t seen. It was all about execution and effort,” said Connally Coach Mike Rabe.
Liberty Hill: The Slot-T has been producing prodigiously the past two games and Liberty Hill will offer Connally another true threat in the backfield with Hernandez. The Cadets are also wary of Shannon, who will play this week, and tailback Hunter Lindsay. The Panthers’ offensive line will face a big test in the Cadets’ five-man front – they’re huge, with several players in the vicinity of 300 pounds. But the Cadets’ defense also features a lot of quickness, including junior DB Jamaica Doyle, who averages about 10 tackles a game and has five tackles for loss and two forced fumbles. “They’ve got speed all over the world. They’re the fastest team we’ve seen this year,” said Liberty Hill Coach Jerry Vance.
Connally: The Cadets have the firepower to match the Panthers if it turns into another scoreboard race. Brown, the quarterback, is the catalyst. He’s Connally’s leading rusher with 510 yards and five TDs on 50 carries through the first three games. Terrell is the running back to watch – he also has five TDs. But the Cadets’ multiple offense, which runs out of the spread, also has good balance. Williams and fellow wideout Marcus Howard lead the receiving corps, with Williams gaining more than 200 yards and scoring three TDs in the first three games. Brown is not a bad thrower either. He throws at better than 50 percent and has tossed five TDs. “I feel like if we execute well we’ll do well. If we don’t, it’s going to be a long night. Against (Liberty Hill), it’s all about execution and effort because that’s what those guys are about. It’s what we got to have,” Rabe said.
~ Bob Varmette, The Independent Sports