Panthers catch fire, score 89 in Homecoming victory over Connally
By Keith Sparks
Friday night’s homecoming game was over about as quickly as it started. Brady Brewer returned the game’s opening kickoff for an 89-yard touchdown and the Panthers never looked back, ending up with an 89-34 victory.
Connally did answer with a touchdown of their own, but their hope ended there. Kyle Harrison scored his first touchdown of the game to give Liberty Hill a 14-7 lead with 9:21 left in the first quarter, and the onslaught only grew from that point on.
The Liberty Hill defense was not to be outdone on the night, as Drake Oberpriller and Trey Seward each returned interceptions for touchdowns in the first half, as well.
Connally did all they could to keep up with the Panthers, scoring on an 88-yard touchdown pass to Diamonte Francois late in the first quarter, but the Panther offense could not be stopped, leading to a 41-14 lead for Liberty Hill at the end of the first quarter.
At the end of the first half, Liberty Hill held a 61-21 lead, thanks to three touchdowns each from Harrison and Shane Gonzalez, as well as touchdowns from Brewer, Oberpriller, and Seward, giving the Panthers nine touchdowns total in the first half.
The second half featured more of the same, although the Panthers eventually put it as many backups as they could to get their less experience players reps while showing respect to the Cougars by not leaving the starters in when the game was clearly out of hand.
In the second half, Reid Sanders scored two rushing touchdowns while Nash Robinson and Gonzalez scored one each for the Panthers. On the defensive end, Matt Montes came up with an interception late in the third quarter.
When all was said and done, Gonzalez had four touchdowns, Harrison had three, one of which was a 45-yard pass from quarterback Cearley, Sanders had two, Brewer had one, Robinson had one, Oberpriller had one, and Seward had one.
“They did some things we were able to take advantage of, and our backs are getting a little better,” Liberty Hill Head Coach Jeff Walker said about the onslaught. “Gonzalez ran a little harder tonight, and if we can get all three backs going, we can be dangerous. We do have a good offensive line. We’re still not clicking like we need to, which can be frustrating at times, but we kept fighting, we came out and played hard.”
Walker also mentioned injuries to the Connally defense as a possible reason for the 89-point night by the Panthers, but gave plenty of credit to his players, as well.
The Panthers now have three weeks between games, during which Walker said they’ll focus heavily on staying in game shape by working on conditioning as often as possible. On Friday, Oct. 12, they’ll play their first district game against Fredericksburg in an away game.