Panther defense stops Wylie Bulldogs
By Lauren Jette
There wasn’t much offense to celebrate, but there was enough to get the win at Panther Stadium last Friday night as Liberty Hill defeated Abilene Wylie 13-6 on Senior Night.
“Beating Abilene Wylie is quite an accomplishment, it’s not the season,” said head coach Jerry Vance. “We played well against Connally (the week before) and I wanted to make sure we played well against a relatively tougher team and I thought we did that. (I’m) very pleased with the outcome and very pleased with the kids’ efforts.”
The Bulldogs started with the ball on their own 33-yard line. After three first downs, the Panther defense held Wylie, which turned the ball over after an incomplete pass on fourth down.
Liberty Hill started with the ball on its own 24-yard line. Facing a third and seven, quarterback Garrett Wright hit Lance Champion for a 50-yard bomb, which moved the Panthers to the Wylie 12-yard line. After three more plays, Jon Shannon got the touchdown on a 2-yard run to put six points on the board. Slade Cummins’ extra point attempt was blocked.
Wylie responded on the next series with a touchdown pass to tie the game. The extra point attempt for the lead ricocheted off the bottom of the goalpost to leave the game tied at six points.
Neither team was able to get any points on the board before the half.
Starting the third quarter with the ball, the Panthers were able to string together six first downs in route to the end zone, after Shannon ran the ball in from 3 yards out. Cummins’ extra point attempt was good.
On the Bulldogs’ next series, the Panthers intercepted a pass to get the ball back. Liberty Hill put together a series stretching into the fourth quarter, but couldn’t convert a field goal attempt.
Wylie’s next series went four and out, giving the Panthers the ball back. Facing and fourth and ten, Wright’s pass fell incomplete, to give the ball back to the Bulldogs with no points scored.
Wylie’s last series ended at the Liberty Hill 36-yard line thanks to a quarterback sack by Colby LaDuque and David Allman.
With three minutes left, Liberty Hill ran out the clock to secure the win.
“You know, I didn’t really know what to expect,” Vance said of the final score.
“I think the result of this (game) being low (scoring) was a couple of things. First of all, our defense played an exceptional game and then again I think our offense did a great job too. You have to keep people off the field that are the caliber of Wylie and our offense did that and made a lot of first downs and scored twice. We had another opportunity that we fumbled up or botched, but all in all, the way we have to win that game came together.”
Shannon finished the game with 155 yards on 35 carries with two touchdowns.
Freddie White recorded 86 yards on 14 carries and Gage Fulps had 49 yards on 14 carries. Lance Champion hauled in a pass for 50 yards and Mason Herrin had one reception for 13 yards.
Wright finished the night 2 of 5 for 63 yards. Andy Becker and Brandon Barfield led the defense with five tackles each.
The Panthers have a bye this week before opening district action on the road at Fischer Canyon Lake on Oct. 9. Liberty Hill’s record stands at 3-2.