PANTHER OF THE WEEK: Kyle Harrison eclipses 300 yards, scores three touchdowns vs. Badgers

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Junior running back Kyle Harrison (#10) takes off against Lampasas on Homecoming night. Harrison finished the game with 302 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries. (Alex Rubio Photo)

By LANCE CATCHINGS

Junior running back Kyle Harrison had one of the most productive games of his young career on Friday during the Panthers’ Homecoming victory over Lampasas, tallying 302 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries.

Harrison’s football career started with flag football in the first grade, thanks in large part to his father’s love of the game, and he hasn’t looked back since.

“My dad got me into football,” Harrison said. “He loves the game just like I do. With all the contact and hitting you get to do, it’s just a fun game. We both love it and we both watch it at home together. After I moved to Liberty Hill for my first year of pads, that’s where I learned the Slot-T offense. I’ve been playing football a long time.”

Harrison’s first experience under the Friday night lights came his freshman year at Panther Stadium in a playoff game against the Gonzales Apaches.

“I got moved up for the playoffs, and I actually scored a touchdown on varsity,” Harrison said. “They put me in and I was blocking, then they called my play. I was a little nervous, but I got the ball and ran for my life to the end zone and we scored. It was perfect blocking by everybody and it was a lot of fun. Whenever I scored, that is when I made the decision that football was my game. I quit baseball, basketball and just wanted to focus on football. Since then, I’ve never looked back and it’s been my favorite sport.”

Harrison has come a long way since he was that freshmen running for his life to the end zone. Now when he gets the football, he makes it look easy, but the junior said that is because of the hard work that’s taken place each offseason.

“To get to this point took a lot of dedication in the offseason,” he said. “I was in the weight room almost every single day this summer. It’s definitely the offseason where the work gets put in. It doesn’t just show up on Friday nights. I put in the work all summer and it is definitely paying off now. Friday nights are nothing but fun for me right now. When Coach (Jeff) Walker got here, it was just added motivation, because everyone got a clean slate. We didn’t know him and he didn’t know us. In two-a-days I worked my butt off to show that I could be his running back, and it’s paying off right now.”

On Friday nights, you can find the junior that wears number 10 running, blocking and carrying out fakes for the Panthers. Harrison has been a major part of the Liberty Hill running game, but he takes none of the credit. Instead, the credit goes to his offensive line.

“For our offense to work, everybody has to do their job,” he said. “If you only get the ball a few times then you have to make your impact blocks for the guy running the ball or the big fake to keep the defense honest. This year, we are not really the four-headed monster. It’s our offensive line that gets us going and we can’t do anything without those guys in this offense. They are the trophy and backbone of our offense to keep us moving forward.”

Harrison’s motivation to carry out those fakes and make those blocks when his number isn’t called comes from the support of the Liberty Hill faithful.

“Team-wise, we want to be the most physical bunch at all times,” he said. “If we play physical, we will drive down and score on anyone. The best part is running back to the sideline and seeing our fans going crazy and cheering for us after a touchdown. I love looking up at our crowd. I love Liberty Hill because our fans go crazy for the game of football. To know they support us and have our back means a lot when we go out on that field.”

Lance@LHIndependent.com

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