Panthers rush over Brownwood, 43-36

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Liberty Hill senior Lucas Rizzotto intercepts a pass from Brownwood's Colt Bertrand in the fourth quarter, but the interception was nullified by an offsides penalty. The Panthers won Friday's non-district game 43-36. (Kathy Canady Photo)

Liberty Hill senior Lucas Rizzotto intercepts a pass from Brownwood’s Colt Bertrand in the fourth quarter, but the interception was nullified by an offsides penalty. The Panthers won Friday’s non-district game 43-36. (Kathy Canady Photo)

By Taylor Grafft

The Liberty Hill Panthers defeated the Brownwood Lions at Panther Stadium on a rainy Friday night by a score of 43-36. The Liberty Hill rushing attacked proved to be too much for the Lions to handle for four quarters as they totaled 391 yards on the ground.

The Panthers and Lions are no longer in the same district, but this friendly non-district meeting between the two teams still proved to be a contest between two rivals.

Liberty Hill senior quarterback Nick Hernandez and senior fullback Gabe Shoemaker carried the Panthers’ offense in the second half to lead the team to a win and improve their overall record to 2-1.

“Nick has really established himself as a leader,” said Head Coach Jerry Vance. “He put things together when things had to be put together, and got it done.”

The Panthers were trailing 22-21 at halftime to Brownwood (1-2), but came out in the third quarter and scored three straight touchdowns to take a commanding lead.

The Panthers’ defense in the third quarter stepped up as well and held the Lions scoreless. Brownwood threatened a comeback in the fourth quarter when they scored a touchdown with 7:05 left in the game and then recovered the ensuing onside kick.

“Our kids played hard, but didn’t always play smart,” said Brownwood Coach Chuck Howard. “Our kids could have laid down, but they didn’t and fought back and came back and scored. You just can’t win with what I call lack of discipline and selfishness.”

Following their recovery of the onside kick, the Lions drove 47 yards to the end zone and finished the drive with a two-yard touchdown run by Harley Price with 4:18 remaining in the fourth quarter.

On the ensuing kickoff, Brownwood once again tried an onside kick, but Liberty Hill’s Colton Cunningham drove on the ball for the Panthers. The Panthers ran out the clock for the remaining four minutes, picking up three key first downs to hang on for the victory.

Liberty Hill’s Hernandez finished with 142 total yards rushing and scored three touchdowns, all of which came in the second half.

Junior fullback Jon Shannon rushed for 110 yards on nine carries in the first half and scored the Panthers first two touchdowns. The Panthers rushed for 158 yards in the first half.

Brownwood senior quarterback Colt Bertrand was 22-for-34 passing and threw for 215 yards for the Lions, and threw three touchdown passes. He finished with one interception. The Lions’ sophomore receiver Conner Howard, son of Brownwood Coach Chuck Howard, finished with eight receptions for 69 yards and caught one touchdown pass.

 

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