Panther defense looks for repeat performance against Brownwood

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Gage Fulps (#32) catches a 25-yard pass from quarterback Garrett Wright for a touchdown. The Panthers defeated Class 5A Brenham on Sept. 4. (Alex Rubio Photo)

Gage Fulps (#32) catches a 25-yard pass from quarterback Garrett Wright for a touchdown. The Panthers defeated Class 5A Brenham on Sept. 4. (Alex Rubio Photo)

By SEAN SHAPIRO

The Liberty Hill defense showed up and shut down Brenham in Week 2.

Brenham was held to 122 total yards and six first downs in Liberty Hill’s 41-14 victory last week. In addition, the Panthers recovered a fumble and sacked the quarterback five times, and the defense only allowed one touchdown.

“I think our defense did a nice job,” Liberty Hill coach Jerry Vance said. “I thought we improved dramatically. I think we came out there with some confidence.”

Now, with confidence in their back pockets, the Panthers will head to Brownwood Friday for a matchup with a high-scoring Lions team.

Through two games, both wins, Brownwood has scored 94 points. In Week 2, the Lions racked up 59 points in a 59-53 track meet of a game with Graham.

“It’s hard to get a read on,” Vance said. “They’re a good team with good players. But, it’s still hard to know exactly what they’ll be trying to do until we play them on Friday night.”

Brownwood is led by quarterback Grant Lewis, a returning starter, who has a handful of weapons around him. The Lions like to throw the ball, but are able to mix in an efficient run game that’s kept their first two opponents off balance.

But, Vance thinks his team is ready for the challenge — especially after the showing against Brenham.

While he expected a victory, Vance didn’t expect a blowout against the Class 5A school.

“Honestly, no not at all,” he said.

Perhaps the most impressive part of Liberty Hill’s defensive effort, which it hopes to continue, was the overall consistency.

Five different players had a sack, while 13 players had at least a pair of tackles.

Offensively, Liberty Hill will stick with its tried and true Slot-T against Brownwood.

The Panthers ran for 364 yards last week and, for good measure, completed their only pass for a 25-yard touchdown from Garrett Wright to Gage Fulps.

Don’t expect many passes this week, but if Brownwood cheats on the run Vance said his team will take its shot.

“That’s what the guys up top (in the press box) do,” Vance said. “They look and notice to see if they’re not covering an area, and then we can exploit that.”

Liberty Hill is also clicking on special teams entering Week 3. The Panthers recovered a short squib kick last week where the Brenham player “just ran away from the ball,” and specialists Slade Cummins and Logan Hester performed well in the kicking game.

Now, with all that momentum, can the Panthers keep rolling as they look for their first road victory?

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