Panthers impress in scrimmage with Stephenville

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Stephenville and Liberty Hill clashed in a scrimmage this past Saturday at Liberty Hill’s Panther Stadium. (Alex Rubio Photo)

Stephenville and Liberty Hill clashed in a scrimmage this past Saturday at Liberty Hill’s Panther Stadium. (Alex Rubio Photo)

By LAUREN JETTE

Panther fans got their first glimpse of the 2015 version of Liberty Hill football, while players got their first taste of game action during a scrimmage against Stephenville last Saturday at Panther Stadium.

Although a score wasn’t kept and the game clock wasn’t on, both teams got the experience of running plays against an unfamiliar opponent.

“We were pleased about the scrimmage,” said head coach Jerry Vance.

“We thought we made some headway from our intrasquad (scrimmage). We saw some things from some kids we needed to see and against quality people. We’re not in week 15 mode yet, but we’re further along than what we anticipated.”

The Panther defense took the field first for a series of plays by Stephenville, their first glimpse at a pass offense. The Yellow Jackets started off with a few unsuccessful pass attempts and handoffs before getting a runner through the defensive line for some yardage.

Liberty Hill’s defense knocked down a pass and almost intercepted another one during the series.

“I was really excited about both sides of the ball,” Vance said. “And really excited after that first series that Stephenville had the ball. I thought our kids were really aggressive, I thought they took care of their responsibilities.”

The offense wasted no time in breaking through for a 10-yard run followed by a more than 20-yard run. Quarterback Garrett Wright showed off his arm strength with a pass downfield, which was slightly over the receivers’ hands.

“Garrett threw the ball pretty well, I thought. I thought he was right on target a couple of times, we just didn’t catch the ball,” Vance said.

“I thought our protection was good. I thought he was able to step up and throw the ball. When protection did break down, I thought he handled himself very well, not trying to force something and throw an interception.”

Both teams had four offensive series each, before a final series where the offense moved the ball from the 25-yard line to the end zone.

The defense broke up Stephenville’s first pass, but couldn’t defend against another pass to the end zone.

The offense got off to rough start in their series, allowing a quarterback sack before a runner broke up the middle for a 12-yard run. Jon Shannon finished the job with two straight runs up the middle, with the last one resulting in a touchdown.

“The way we designed this scrimmage, we had a series of first down plays, a series of second and long and second and medium plays so I was looking for are we moving the chains?” Vance explained.

“It didn’t matter to me whether we scored or not. What I was looking for (was) are we consistent in making first downs? That’s the way we make a living. We aren’t going to be a big play-making team. We’re going to be that first and ten, first and ten, first and ten and then when we get a chance, we’ll score.”

Liberty Hill will travel to Alvarado Friday for a final scrimmage before opening the season on the road at La Grange on Aug. 28.

“It will be a good test for us,” Vance said.

“Especially that long of a road trip, because we’ve got a couple of trips like that and you always want to have a long trip with your scrimmages just to see how your kids travel and let them know what your routine is and what your expectations are. It will be a good rehearsal for the upcoming season.”

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