Panthers upset Llano in District 8-3A opener


The Liberty Hill Panthers hosted Llano in their District 8-3A opener Friday and came away with their fifth straight win.

Another total team effort by the Panthers featured touchdowns by the offense, defense and special teams on their way to a 54-21 victory over the Yellowjackets.

After a scoreless first quarter, Liberty Hill opened the scoring with 11:15 left in the second quarter. Cory Ferrell rushed up the middle on a fullback dive to take it 39-yards to the end zone and put the Panthers up 7-0.

Liberty Hill scored less than two minutes later on an interception by Christian Anderson—his second interception of the night—that was returned 40 yards for a touchdown, 14-0.

Llano answered back with a touchdown of their own with 7:20 left in the second quarter. Running back Carter Tatsch rushed off tackle to the right for a four-yard touchdown.

After the Panthers turned the ball over on downs on their own 35-yard line, the Yellowjackets scored on their first offensive play of the possession. Tyler Stiles rushed 17 yards on a jet sweep to the right side for a touchdown with 5:09 left in the half to tie the game.

Liberty Hill went ahead with 1:06 before halftime after Tyler Vickers took a quarterback sneak into the end zone from one yard out, 21-14.

Liberty Hill rushed for 147 yards in the first half.

The Panthers received the ball to start the second half and scored in less than a minute on a 44-yard rush by fullback Nick Barrios up the middle. Following the extra point by Lucas Rizzoto the Panthers increased their lead to 28-14.

The Panthers would score again in the third quarter on a 72-yard sweep to the right by running back Will Fromme. Rizzotto missed the extra point and the Panthers increased their lead to 34-14.

Neither team would score until 9:06 left in the fourth quarter when fullback Cory Ferrell rushed up the middle from one yard out on third and goal, 41-14.

After throwing two interceptions in the first half, Llano quarterback Layton Rabb completed 11 passes in a row before getting the Yellowjackets into the red zone. Rabb rushed in from three yards out to cut the score to 41-21 with 6:10 left in the game.

Liberty Hill responded on the ensuing kickoff with a 75-yard kickoff return by Nick Hernandez. Rizzotto missed the extra point and the Panthers were up 47-21.

The Panthers would score on more touchdown with 2:44 left in the ballgame to start District 8-3A with a win. Nick Barrios rushed into the end zone from 27 yards out to put his team up 54-21.

Coach Vance said after the game that it was a total team effort by his team and he was happy with the win, but the focus now goes to their next game against Brownwood.

Look for complete coverage in the Oct. 17 edition of The Independent.