Panthers come out of scrimmage as one family

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The Panthers set up to run a play during the Purple and White Scrimmage at Panther Stadium last Saturday,. According to Head Coach Jeff Walker, one of the biggest advantages of having an intrasquad scrimmage is being able to see all 52 players in game-like situations. (Alex Rubio Photo)

The Panthers set up to run a play during the Purple and White Scrimmage at Panther Stadium last Saturday,. According to Head Coach Jeff Walker, one of the biggest advantages of having an intrasquad scrimmage is being able to see all 52 players in game-like situations. (Alex Rubio Photo)

By Lance Catchings

The Liberty Hill varsity football team went head-to-head in an intra-squad scrimmage last Saturday. The players were split offense vs. defense and in the second day of full pads there was no shortage of big hits and high intensity.

Senior full-back/inside linebacker Hunter Oncken said the team was itching to get on the field and work hard for new head coach Jeff Walker leading up to the scrimmage

“Things have been a little different with Coach Walker,” Oncken said.

“Practices have been a lot more intense. We are playing both ways now in practice instead of just focusing on one position. Our motto this year is one family, and we have been bonding more than we used to. Coach Walker wants us (at the field house) lifting together and being a family. The scrimmage was our first live action and it was fun to get in a groove and go against our friends from practice everyday.”

During the scrimmage, the defense forced multiple turnovers and celebrated by dunking the ball in a sideline trash can, but when the offense clicked it showed how dangerous it can be in a hurry.

Junior quarterback/safety Brenden Ketchem believes once the offense is run efficiently it is almost impossible to stop.

“The first couple of weeks have been good,” Ketchem said.

“Coach Walker has high expectations for this offense and we do our best to try and fill them every day. The Slot T is traditional for Liberty Hill. When we execute it properly we get the defense on their heels and before you know it there are six points on the board.”

Quarterbacks were green lit during the scrimmage, which means they were live action for tackling. Ketchem said toughness is a part of competing for the position.

“The offense is exciting because it is an 11-man offense,” he said.

“We all feel a sense of pride because it takes everyone doing their job for it to work correctly. Toughness is a part of the job. We consider our backfield a four headed monster, at any time we have four people to give the ball and take it to the house, not three (running) backs and a quarterback. We definitely need to get bigger and faster to out-physical our opponent.

“This scrimmage was our first time this season in front of our town and coaches so we gave our
max effort,” he said.

This Saturday at 11 a.m. in Alvarado the Panthers will bring both sides of the ball together as they face off in a scrimmage against the Indians. This will be the first look the players and coaches will get against someone other than themselves.

Senior offensive tackle Matt Carter said the Panthers will need to get right back to work to prepare for Alvarado.

“I thought we would do a little better than we did in the intra-squad scrimmage,” Carter said.

“The team is coming together we just have to get used to new people in new positions and gelling as a unit. With Alvarado coming up we need to work on staying low and attacking them. Our speed is getting better, but we need to make sure we get the same amount from the first play to the 50th play. Our focus this week is to work out the kinks and make sure we are giving it our all.”

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