Panthers crush Bulldogs, 8-0

Slade Cummins (#9) beats a Burnet defender off the dribble. The Panthers beat the Bulldogs last Friday by a final score of 8-0 for the second time this season. (Shannon Hofmann Photo)

Slade Cummins (#9) beats a Burnet defender off the dribble. The Panthers beat the Bulldogs last Friday by a final score of 8-0 for the second time this season. (Shannon Hofmann Photo)

By Paul Livengood

Tuesday night, Liberty Hill was set to kickoff with the Salado Eagles, but the game was delayed to Wednesday night due to unplayable field conditions at Salado High School. The soccer fields were deemed unfit to play after the inclement weather from the night before.

On Jan. 31st, the Panthers defeated the Bulldogs 8-0. Last Friday, they did it again.

Each game featured a hat trick, followed by five individuals scoring one goal apiece. Three of the same players recorded points in each game: Izaac Zausch, Colton Walter, and Michael Shipley.

Zausch scored the hat trick in the first meeting at Burnet High School, and Pedro Silva, senior forward, scored Friday’s hat trick.

Silva broke the 0-0 deadlock in the 15th minute of the match. The senior finished a rebound with the outside of his right foot after the Burnet goalkeeper saved a Shipley shot from distance.

Silva and Zausch extended the lead with some combination play in the box, executing a give-and-go to the feet of Zausch. The junior finished the play dribbling around the defender and taking advantage of a one-on-one opportunity with the Burnet goalie.

Minutes before halftime, Liberty Hill scored once more off a Zausch corner that connected first with the head of Walter, and then the twine in the back of the net.

A 3-0 lead wouldn’t be enough for the Panthers. Liberty Hill wasted no time, scoring all five second-half goals in the first 19 minutes of the 40-minute half. Silva scored his second goal on an assist from Erick Jaimes down the right side of the Burnet defense.

Zausch helped Silva finish the hat trick and assisted Jordan Schwingendorf’s goal, giving him three assists on the night. At the point of Silva’s hat trick, Liberty Hill led 6-0 and any chance of a Burnet comeback had been diminished. The Panthers still didn’t let off the gas.

In the 53rd minute, Slade Cummins, senior defenseman, played a cross from the left flank into the box and fellow senior Dawson Carroll headed the ball in for his third goal of the year.

Even senior center back Jack Brewer added to the scoring clinic. With a 7-0 lead, Head Coach Darren Bauer moved Brewer to the right-wing spot for the waning stages of the match. Brewer found a way to score from a tough angle on that right side. The goal was Brewer’s first this season and ninth of his Liberty Hill career.

With the 8-0 lead, Bauer pulled starting goalie Parker Sargent and inserted David Larkin between the pipes. Minutes into his substitution, Larkin had to save the shutout.

With 19 minutes to go, Liberty Hill committed a foul in the box for a Burnet penalty. Larkin had not seen a single shot since he entered and took the penalty kick cold. Like a veteran, Larkin stepped up and made a clutch save straight off the bench to save the shutout.

Liberty Hill held onto the shutout the rest of the way, defeating the Bulldogs by a final score of 8-0.

Next up for the Panthers is a home showdown in Panther Stadium with the Lampasas Badgers on Friday, Feb. 17, at 5:30 p.m.