Liberty Hill tops Boerne on homecoming
By BOB VARMETTE
This is how you beat a passing team with a Tennessee commit for a quarterback: You do it exactly the way Liberty Hill Coach Jerry Vance drew it up.
You keep the ball away from Boerne quarterback Quinten Dormady – a four-star quarterback who is rated the 14th-best pocket passer in the U.S.
The Panthers owned the football, running off 81 plays to the Greyhounds’ 33, and celebrated their homecoming with a 37-28 win Friday night at Panther Stadium in a District 14-4A Division I game.
“We had a really good night,” Liberty Hill senior center Colton Hall said. “Our offensive line – our seniors – they really stepped up. We really pounded the ball. Our goal tonight was to pound the ball down their throat and I think we did that.”
Liberty Hill (6-2, 3-0 District 14-4A Div. I) rushed for 415 yards on 79 attempts. Boerne (6-2, 2-1) was almost powerless to stop them. Junior fullback Jon Shannon led the Panthers’ rushing attack. He ran for 171 yards – and hard-earned yards – and four touchdowns.
Senior tailback Hunter Lindsay also went over 100 yards on the night, finishing with 124 on 16 carries.
Shannon scored on runs of 2, 8, 3 and 7 yards.
“I’m so proud of my line,” Shannon said. “They blocked well. I can’t do anything without them. They gave me all these yards. I’m very proud of them.”
The Panthers needed their yards and needed to execute their game plan exactly to keep ahead of the prolific passing offense of the Greyhounds, who came into the game averaging 303 yards per contest through the air.
Dormady didn’t even get to touch the ball until Boerne was already down 14-0, but he quickly led the Greyhounds down the field and found David Snelling with a 1-yard scoring toss to halve the Panthers’ lead at 14-7 with 2:37 in the first quarter.
After Nick Hernandez upped the Liberty Hill advantage to 21-7 with a 4-yard run, Dormady needed just one play to get the points back, a 75-yard catch and run by Nathan Boggs. Dormady, who according to Rivals.com turned down an offer by Alabama to commit to Tennessee, found Snelling twice more for scoring passes.
But Dormady didn’t enjoy the success he needed to counteract the Panthers’ clock-eating offense. Liberty Hill pressured Dormady relentlessly, particularly in the first half, even though they only recorded one sack, and senior Lucas Rizzotto turned away the Greyhounds for the last time when he picked off Dormady with 2:11 in the game.
“If we don’t pick up the pressure, then we struggle,” Dormady said. “We’re going to beat teams that play man coverage – we’ve got the guys to do it. But when they start playing zone, I’ve got to hold on to the ball a little bit longer. The teams we’ve been playing have been doing a good job and giving us different looks.”
The Panthers played their game from the very beginning, taking the opening kickoff 75 yards in 15 plays, and eating up 6 minutes, 37 seconds of clock. After the Greyhounds fumbled on the ensuing kickoff, the Panthers went 35 yards in four plays and held a 14-0 lead on Shannon’s second touchdown of the night.
Even when the Panthers didn’t score they still wasted precious time that Dormady and Boerne needed. In the fourth quarter, after the Greyhounds cut the lead to 37-28 with 11:55 left in the game, Liberty Hill kept the ball for 6:08 before turning the ball over on downs.
Then the Liberty Hill defense took over, forcing a punt on the Greyhounds’ ensuing possession before turning away Dormady and Boerne one last time with Rizzotto’s interception.
The game played out just as the Panthers had wanted. Vance wanted first downs, and he got them – the Panthers finished with 30 to just 10 for the Greyhounds.
“Liberty Hill football – we’re going to pound the ball,” Hall said. “We’re going to run the ball on people. It’s what we wanted to do, and to do it on homecoming night, it was really special.”