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Panthers 2-1 after whipping Lions 48-7

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    The Vindicator | Robert Ward — Liberty’s leading receiver Friday night was Johnny Harris-Hines with two catches, 32 yards and a touchdown.
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    The Vindicator | Robert Ward — Terrick Peterson carried the ball 16 times against Livingston for 149 yards and one touchdown.
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    The Vindicator | Robert Ward — Here Liberty’s Titus Bell makes life hard for a Livingston Lion last Friday night.

The Liberty Panthers improved their 2019 season record to 2 and 1 by rolling over the Livingston Lions 48-7. Liberty dominated from the opening kick-off.

Their ball-control, ground-oriented offense got ahead early and used the clock to their advantage. Liberty ran 58 plays from scrimmage in the game. Fifty of these were running plays amounting to 381 yards. Quarterback Austin Walker was six for eight passing for 87 yards and a touchdown. Liberty’s total yardage for the night was 438 yards. The leading rusher for the Panthers again this week was Terrick Peterson who carried the ball 16 times for 149 yards and one touchdown. Alishia Terrell had nine carries for 121 yards and a touchdown. The leading Liberty receiver was Johnny Harris-Hines with two catches, 32 yards and a touchdown. Liberty did fumble once but recovered it for a substantial gain. They were penalized seven times for 35 yards.

The Lions only ran 31 offensive plays. They ran the ball 21 times for 71 yards. Quarterback Damien Ruiz was four for nine passing for 106 yards. Livingston actually showed some explosiveness on offense by busting off some nice runs but, Ruiz was sacked for losses on numerous occasions and reduced their statistics significantly. The Lions fumbled twice, losing both to the Panthers. They were penalized three times for 15 yards. There was an off-setting unsportsmanlike conduct call as a result of a scuffle on the field toward the end of the second quarter. No yardage was assessed either team but each squad had a player ejected from the contest.

The scoring in the game was as follows: Liberty took the opening kickoff and put together an eight-play, 75-yard drive. Austin Walker scored from the 1-yard line on a quarterback sneak. Eric Espinosa drilled the extra point and the score was 7-0, Panthers at the 7:50 mark of the first quarter.

It’s worth mentioning that Espinosa was six for six on PATs and two for two on field goals.

Livingston’s first drive was stopped when Ruiz threw an interception, giving Liberty the ball at their 38-yard line. They marched down the field again, this time going 62 yards in 10 plays. Jordan Leday went over from the 1. Espinosa was again on the mark and Liberty led 14-0 with 1:36 left in the first period.

The Panthers took a play out of last week’s book and kicked and recovered an on-sides kick. Three plays later, Johnny Harris-Hines snapped off a 20-yard scamper. Another PAT made the score 21-0 in favor of the Panthers with 54 seconds left in the first quarter. Liberty tried another on-sides kick but was unsuccessful, giving the Lions the ball on a short field. Then, Livingston’s Chris Washington caught a 44-yard strike from Ruiz on the first play of the drive.

Five plays later, Ruiz called his own number and went in from the 1. Their PAT was good and the score was 21-7, Liberty.

Liberty got the ball back and use up most of the second quarter with a 11-play, 73-yard drive. Tailback Peterson went in from the 5-yard line and, with the PAT, the score stood at 28-7 with 3:58 showing in the first half. Liberty scored again after holding the Lions on a fourth-down play. They played hurry-up and hooked Johnny Harris-Hines up with Austin Walker on a 15 yard pass play. The PAT made it 35-7 at the half.

Livingston’s Friday the 13th bad luck continued on the opening kickoff of the second half. They fumbled the run-back and Liberty recovered. Liberty ran five plays on the short field and sent in kicker Eric Espinosa. He dropped in a 37-yard field goal, bringing the score to 38-7 at the 9:09 mark of the third.

Livingston took the ball and ran off 12 plays but could muster only 28 yards, turning the ball over on downs.

The Panthers drove 50 yards before being stopped but, it was close enough to call in Espinosa who drilled a 30-yarder, bringing the score to 41-7 with 9:51 showing on the clock.

Liberty scored once more with 7:23 showing on the clock when Matthew Porche scored on a 6-yard run. The PAT made it 48-7. Livingston ran five more plays before turning the ball over on downs. Liberty made a first down, then went to the “victory” formation.

Final score: Liberty 48, Livingston 7.

This week, Liberty travels to Diboll for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.

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