Reeves brings smarts, sound defense to Panthers

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DSC_2184-1By Taylor Grafft

You probably remember him from last season when he made the Liberty Hill Panther football team’s play of the year. With time winding down, Jason Reeves picked off Burnet quarterback Derek Kiser to seal the victory for the Panthers and instantly became a Liberty Hill legend.

Now Reeves’ interception feels even more significant since Liberty Hill and Burnet are no longer in the same football district or on each other’s schedules. That means Liberty Hill and Reeves can hold bragging rights over their biggest rivals until the two teams meet on the field again — whenever that may be. Reeves said he was unable to put into words the feelings he felt after making that interception to seal the victory for his team.

“There is honestly no better feeling than to seal the deal over our biggest rival with an interception,” said Reeves. “I can’t put it into words. Having the whole team jumping all over you just makes you feel proud. It’s the proudest I have ever felt. Burnet has always been our biggest rival and it’s really disappointing not to be able to play them. It’s kind of like Texas and (Texas) A&M not playing anymore.”

Now in his senior year, Reeves, 5’10” and 170 pounds, has been focused on improving and helping his team get their third state championship.

“I honestly expect that if we play like we are coached to play, I feel confident that we can bring another state championship to Liberty Hill,” Reeves said.

During the offseason, Reeves worked hard in the weight room and on his conditioning. He also said that improving his footwork and pass coverage was something important to him entering a new season.

Reeves said the team has been doing a seven-on-seven drill in practice every week that’s helped him and the defense become more fundamentally sound in their approach.

“The seven-on-seven once a week helped the offense work on routes and we got to see where our defense stood with pass coverage,” Reeves said.

When you talk to Reeves’ teammates and coaches and ask them what qualities stand out about his personality and play on the field, they will all tell you his football awareness and toughness.

Reeves prides himself on his game preparation and knowing his assignments before taking the field each Friday night.

“I work hard on and off the field,” Reeves said. “I feel like I’m a very coachable player. I know my assignments on the field. I feel like I’m a team leader. My strength and speed help tremendously.”

The Liberty Hill coaches have also played a major role in Reeves’ development as a player. Reeves says the coaches have been working a “two-platoon practice” which allows the offense to work strictly on offense, and the defense to work strictly on defense. The coaches have also taught the players a new tackling form that has helped them with their tackling techniques.

Reeves comes from a long line of football players. Starting with his grandfather and father all the way down to his brother, uncle and cousins. That family passion has helped Reeves throughout his life be more disciplined and confident as a player.

Reeves started playing football at a very young age, but the Panthers’ linebacker had not always played at his natural position. He started out as a quarterback in pee-wee football and was then moved to running back and inside linebacker in middle school.

Once he got to Liberty Hill High School as a freshman, the coaches moved him strictly to defense because they told him that’s where the head hunters played.

Fast forward to last Friday night when the Panthers shocked 5A Brenham at Cub Stadium, and Reeves was a big part of helping stop the Cubs’ offense. Rarely ever out of position, Reeves was a threat stopping the run and breaking up any short passes to the running backs or tight ends.

“The win against Brenham was huge,” Reeves said. “Our confidence as a team hit the roof. Coach (Jerry) Vance told us, as the team leaders, that he has put together the toughest pre-district schedule since he’s been in Liberty Hill. I truly feel that if we continue to play as well as we did against Brenham, that we can beat anybody that comes into our path.”

With his time at Liberty Hill coming to a close, Reeves paid several visits to college campuses this past summer.

“I visited several colleges over the summer,” Reeves said. “I want to be an engineer and am hoping to go to the Colorado School of Mines. I would love to continue to play football through college.”

Reeves also participates in baseball, track, and power lifting for the Panthers.

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