Panthers beat down Bulldogs to advance to area playoff

Jon Shannon breaks through Bulldog defense during the Panthers' bi-district win Friday. (Alex Rubio Photo)

Jon Shannon breaks through Bulldog defense during the Panthers’ bi-district win Friday. (Alex Rubio Photo)

By Lauren Jette

CEDAR PARK — The Panthers came up big when they needed to and defeated rival Burnet 47-28 Friday night at John Gupton Stadium to advance to the area round of playoffs.

“It’s wonderful,” Coach Jerry Vance said of getting the win over the Bulldogs. “You look at their record and if it was anybody other than Burnet, you wouldn’t sweat so much, but the fact that it’s Burnet, you don’t sleep very well all that week.”

Neither team managed any points in their first possessions, but Liberty Hill struck first in three plays, with Caleb Guerin hauling the ball down field 91-yards for the Panthers’ first points.

The Panthers found the end zone again on a 56-yard run from Guerin to go up three touchdowns to one.

Burnet responded in the second quarter on a 13-yard touchdown run from Preston Reeves to tie the game.

Liberty Hill responded on the next series with a 1-yard run from Jon Shannon, who hasn’t played since getting injured in the game against Taylor.

Slade Cummins’ nailed the extra point.

The Bulldogs cut the lead to one touchdown after quarterback Austin Moore threw a 28-yard pass to Joel Johnson.

In the second half, Liberty Hill took the ball to the endzone, scoring on a 2-yard run from Guerin with 8:21 in the quarter.

Burnet wouldn’t go away, scoring on a 12-yard fade route from Moore to Steven Gallardo.

Dylan Joiner returned to ensuing kickoff to the Burnet 38-yard line to set up a 34-yard touchdown run from Gage Fulps. Cummins’ extra point put the score at 35-21.

Burnet got the ball back at the start of the fourth quarter and scored on a 16-yard Moore pass to Johnson. The Bulldogs tried a short kick, which set the Panthers up at their own 45-yard line. Shannon ran the ball in from 30-yards out for another touchdown. The extra point missed the upright.

Burnet tried to pass the ensuing kick across field, but dropped the ball, which was recovered by Grant White.

Quarterback Garrett Wright ran the ball in from 3-yards out for the touchdown. The two-point conversion failed.

Panther Ryan Ragle intercepted Moore on a Burnet first and goal from the 10-yard line to seal the game for the Panthers.

Liberty Hill will face the winner of the Gonzales-Grulla game. Game time and location hadn’t been determined as of deadline Friday night.