WACO- The Liberty Hill Panthers (14-0) for one half appeared to be in the fight of their lives with the Bridgeport Bulls (12-1) but a completely dominating second half performance separated the contenders from the pretenders as LHHS extended their winning streak to 38 games in a 48-27 win at Floyd Casey Stadium.
Liberty Hill known for their potent offense didn’t disappoint rushing for 429 total yards, led by Matt McCain’s 146 yards and two touchdowns and Ryan Fickel’s 87 yards and three touchdowns. Bridgeport WR Daniel Olmos was the big weapon for the Bulls hauling in six passes for 152 yards and three touchdowns.
On the game’s first drive, Liberty Hill’s defense made the first big play of the game as Ryan Cox picked off Cameron Green and returned it 40 yards down to the Bridgeport 24. Liberty Hill would score on their first offensive play as McCain scored on a 24 yard run and quickly it was 7-0. Bridgeport would have a quick answer as Green hooked up with Olmos with his first scoring pass from 26 yards out to tie things up at seven. Liberty Hill which was six for six on fourth down conversions on the game converted their first fourth down on the next drive as McCain broke off a 33 yard run, three plays later Ryan Fickel scored from 14 yards out to make it 14-7.
The wild first quarter would continue as Bridgeport made it 14-13 as Green and Olmos hooked up from 51 yards out for a score. The Bulls defense would step up and force a Panthers turnover as Dustin Krebs would pick off LHHS QB Braden Fickel setting the Bulls up in Liberty Hill territory. Bridgeport would waste little time capitalizing as Green tossed his third touchdown pass of the first quarter this one an eight yarder to Collin White and BHS led to 20-14 and that would be the final score of a wild first quarter.
The next drive the turnover bug hit Liberty Hill once again as BHS DB Jason Mitchell nails RB Dusty Boyd and forced a fumble, LB Kyle Parker recovered the fumble for the Bulls. Again the Green to Olmos connection would prove to work wonders for the Bulls as this time a 37 yard touchdown toss put the Bulls up 27-14. That score would be all that Bridgeport would muster as the remainder of the game was totally dominated by Liberty Hill.
BHS appeared to hold Liberty Hill to a punt attempt as the Panthers had a 4th and six near midfield, but again the coaching staff at LHHS declines the chance to punt and it paid off big as Braden Fickel scored on a 55 yard run on the fourth down play and it was 27-21 Bridgeport. After forcing a Bridgeport three and out, Liberty Hill decided to take to the air right before the half as Fickel hooked up with a wide open Joshua Woodbury for a 49 yard touchdown pass and a 28-27 lead for Liberty Hill at halftime.
Any hopes of a Bridgeport comeback was ended in a totally dominant third quarter as Liberty Hill held the ball for eleven minutes and two seconds of the third quarter and ran 23 plays to Bridgeport’s three. Ryan Fickel scored from eight yards out to make it 35-27 LHHS. Early in the fourth, the lead was extended as Matt McCain scored to make it 42-27. The final BHS comeback attempt was snuffed out later in the fourth as Ryan Cox got his second pick of the game and the Panthers would add a late garbage touchdown for the final margin of 48-27.
Next week Liberty Hill meets up with Celina in a rematch of the 2006 Division II State Championship game, won by Liberty Hill in a thriller at a time and location to be determined.