Panthers take the win on Homecoming
By KEITH SPARKS
Following a disheartening loss to number two state-ranked Waco La Vega on Oct. 13, the Panthers came out ready to take out their frustrations against the Lampasas Badgers, and did so with a 56-27 Homecoming victory.
The Panthers were able to hold the Badgers to a three-and-out on their first possession, and the ensuing punt gave Liberty Hill great field position at the 50-yard line.
On the Panthers’ first play from scrimmage, running back Kyle Harrison took off for a 50-yard touchdown run down the sideline to take a 7-0 lead with 10:55 left in the first quarter.
The Badgers’ second possession ended with a similar fate to their first, but ended with a much better punt that gave the Panthers possession at their own 22-yard line. Harrison once again had a successful drive on the ground for Liberty Hill, setting up a 20-yard touchdown pass from Brenden Ketchem to Reece Hudson, giving the Panthers a 14-0 lead with 3:58 left in the first quarter.
Lampasas was able to put together a successful drive on their third possession of the game after a 45-yard run set up a 28-yard touchdown pass for the Badgers, but they missed the extra point to make it a 14-6 game with 2:07 left in the first quarter.
The Badgers attempted an onside kick following their first score, and initially succeeded, but they were called for offsides on the kick, forcing them to re-kick and give the Panthers favorable field position.
The Panthers ran a number of short runs up the middle, ending up with the ball at the 1-yard line before penalties brought them back to the 16. Running back Elijah Davis was able to capitalize despite the penalties, scoring on a 16-yard touchdown run to give Liberty Hill a 21-6 lead with 7:59 left in the first half.
After yet another punt by the Badgers, Harrison took off for a 77-yard run to the opposing 2-yard line and got the benefit a facemask call, followed by a 1-yard rushing touchdown by Ketchem on the quarterback keeper. With 4:30 left in the second quarter, the Panthers held a 28-6 lead.
An intentional grounding penalty deep in their own territory made life difficult for the Badgers late in the first half, putting them in a fourth-and-16 situation from their own 18-yard line.
The Panthers were able to capitalize on solid field position after the Badgers’ punt gave them the ball at their own 46, ultimately ending in a 25-yard touchdown run by Davis to give Liberty Hill a 35-6 lead with 1:35 left in the first half.
Lampasas threatened to score before halftime, but Liberty Hill’s Grant Supak came away with a big interception with 46 seconds left in the second quarter.
On the Panthers’ first play following Supak’s interception, Harrison scored on a 57-yard touchdown run on a trick play.
The Panthers would start the second half with a big lead and the ball, and fullback Hunter Oncken would quickly increase that lead less than two minutes into the half on a 32-yard touchdown run to make it a 49-6 ballgame with 10:21 left in the third quarter.
Lampasas threatened to score once more on their next possession, but were intercepted again, this time by Bryce McCatty in the end zone. A horsecollar penalty on McCatty’s 35-yard return gave the Panthers an extra 15 yards and possession at the 50.
Liberty Hill was unable to capitalize on the turnover, however, as Ketchem threw an interception shortly thereafter, giving Lampasas possession at their own 30.
Lampasas nearly turned the ball over on their next drive, but were able to complete a 33-yard pass to the 8-yard line, followed by a touchdown run by Sean Williams to make it 49-13 with 2:32 left in the third quarter.
The Panthers were finally forced to punt for the fist time on fourth and 17 late in the third quarter, and Lampasas would score once again, this time on a 44-yard touchdown run by Williams to bring the score to 49-20.
Harrison added to his already stellar performance with a 47-yard touchdown run with 5:04 left in the game, and the Panthers held an insurmountable 56-20 lead, although the Badgers would score once more on a 3-yard touchdown pass with 2:28 left to play.
The Panthers’ 56-27 Homecoming victory gave them a 1-1 district record and 4-2 overall record. Their next game will take place against the Burnet Bulldogs in Burnet at 7:30 on Friday, Oct. 27.