Score(not)board

Liberty Hill rolls up 611 yards rushing to counter Tigers’ 500 of offense
BY BILL MARTIN
Reporter Sports Editor


Rockdale’s Pearce Loth fights off Liberty Hill’s Jaden Boatright to snare a pass in the Tigers’ loss to the Panthers. 
Reporter/Cliff Dungan Rockdale’s Pearce Loth fights off Liberty Hill’s Jaden Boatright to snare a pass in the Tigers’ loss to the Panthers. Reporter/Cliff Dungan

A funny thing happened during the Rockdale-Liberty Hill contest Friday night.

A 6-Man game broke out.

In the highest combined-scoring game in Rockdale football history, Liberty Hill literally ran away from the Tigers 76-35 at Tigerland Field Friday night in front of a crowd that may have suffred from whiplash en masse, watching both teams run up and down the field.

The Tigers dip to 2-2, while the Panthers improve to 3-1 and will face defending Class 3A state champion Wimberley on Friday in their annual clash of the titans.

Taking a cue from their numerically challenged bretheren of the 6-man world, the two teams combined for 157 plays, 111 points, 1,176 yards, 53 first downs, 16 touchdowns and 10 fumbles.

There was a touchdown scored every three minutes.

As if not to waste precious time at the line of scrimmage, five of the trips to the end zone were from 58 yards or longer.

Three more were from at least 33 yards away.

The most shocking statistic of the evening was that Liberty Hill—who had attempted just six passes in its first three games combined—tried the rarified air eight times, completing five—for two scores no less.

Liberty Hill senior Jaden Boatright concocted his own private playground in the defensive backfield, nabbing four misplaced Rockdale passes and parlaying two of the thefts into pick-six scores, from 43 and 60 yards out.

When he wasn’t being a pest on defense, the New Mexico signee tortured the Tigers on offense as well, sprinting for 155 yards and two more touchdowns for 67 and 58 yards on just seven touches.

Boatright was next in line behind Jesse Perez who ground out 235 yards on 26 carries.


Clockwise from bottom left, Rockdale Coach Jeff Miller takes a breather during an injury timeout. Above, Ethan Brinkley was knocked out of the game with a knee injury. In the middle on top, junior Clayton Gibbs took his turn at quarterback and threw for three touchdowns. Top right, No, Gibbs is not throwing the ball to himself, but did grab at 68-yard touchdown pass before he stepped in under center. Bottom right, Rockdale’s Drevonne Walton (2) wrestles for the ball with Liberty Hill’s Jesse Perez (21). In the middle, James David records one of his 19 tackles on Perez, who ran for 235 yards. 
Photography by Cliff Dungan Clockwise from bottom left, Rockdale Coach Jeff Miller takes a breather during an injury timeout. Above, Ethan Brinkley was knocked out of the game with a knee injury. In the middle on top, junior Clayton Gibbs took his turn at quarterback and threw for three touchdowns. Top right, No, Gibbs is not throwing the ball to himself, but did grab at 68-yard touchdown pass before he stepped in under center. Bottom right, Rockdale’s Drevonne Walton (2) wrestles for the ball with Liberty Hill’s Jesse Perez (21). In the middle, James David records one of his 19 tackles on Perez, who ran for 235 yards. Photography by Cliff Dungan The Panthers rushed the ball 81 times for 611 yards.

Coming off what could have potentially been a devastating loss to rival Cameron, the Tigers came out swinging.

Not to mention the fact that they were forced to play without starting quarterback Ethan Brinkley who was knocked out early in the second quarter with a knee injury and did not return.

There is a possibility he could return for the District 18-3A opener Oct. 12 at Taylor.

Brinkley suffered a torn meniscus in his right knee and will not be available for this week’s contest with Smithville.

“It shows the character of this team and of these players,” said Miller. “We needed to come out and compete and we did that very well until we got into the turnovers. When we weren’t turning it over, we were very successful.”

The Tigers amassed 496 yards of offense, but six turnovers were too much to overcome.

“We fought, we were playing hard in the fourth quarter. It meant a lot to me,” Miller said.

Rockdale actually led 14-12 heading into the second stanza after matching Liberty Hill scorefor score in the first quarter on Brinkley scoring strikes to Kris Baldavia from 62 yards out and Gibbs from 68 yards away.

The Panthers had muffed their two conversion attempts.

Both teams scored on their first two possessions—Liberty Hill on its first six and eight of 10.

Putting up 44 second quarter points, the Panthers began to create some separation, crossing the goal line six times on the strength of three Boatright long distance trips—two on interceptions ­for a 56-28 lead at intermission.

While Brinkley excited early in the second quarter, Tiger fans got an early glimpse of the future and next season’s probable quarterback in Gibbs who saw his first significant action under center.

The junior responded admirably, completing 16-of-31 passes for 237 yards and three touchdowns, not to mention the one he caught.

“I was very pleased,” said Miller. “We already knew we had a good athlete and a good quarterback in Clayton. He showed a lot of poise.”

18-3A Standings

District Season
WLWLPtsOpp
Navasota400017227
Rockdale220094148
Madisonville22009187
Taylor 130083111
Caldwell 0400102260
This week—Smithville at Rockdale;
Caldwell is idle; Navasota at Fairfield;
Crockett at Madisonville; Burnet at Taylor.
Last week—Liberty Hill 76, Rockdale
35; Gatesville 35, Taylor 14; Navasota 45,
Lexington 13; Madisonville 34, Crockett 28;
Franklin 80, Caldwel 34.

TIGER SEASON LEADERS

Rushing—Brooks 50-303 3 TD,
Ramey 31-103, David 1-5, Hayes
15-112 TD, Dansby 6-20, Gibbs 5-(-7),
Brinkley 13-(-40).
Passing—Brinkley 53-97-7, 804
yards, 6 TD; Gibbs 16-33-2, 237
yards, 3TD.
Receiving— Loth 18-269 2TD,
Caffey 16-202 3TD, Gibbs 11-198
2TD, Burgess 5-73, Ramey 4-51,
Baldavia 4-114 TD, Walton 3-56 TD,
Dean 1-16, Brooks 1-16, Gates 1-12,
David 1-10, Burton 1-7.
Tackles— Hayes 63, David 51,
Coates 40, Caffey 32, Gibbs 20, Heintze 18, Dansby 18, Trejo 13, Ehler 12,
Brooks 11, Offield 10. Castilleja 10.

Liberty Hill Rockdale
31 First downs 22
81-611 Rushes-yards 22-75
5-8-1 Passes 23-43-4
69 Passing yards 421
680 Total offense 496
1-17 Punts 2-14
5-0 Fumbles-lost 6-2
9-85 Penalties-yards 5-25
Score by quarters
Liberty Hill 12 44 7 13—76
Rockdale 14 14 7 0—35

Scoring summary
First quarter
LH—Cory Ferrell 5 run (kick fail) 8:49
ROCK—Kris Baldavia 62 pass from Ethan
Brinkley (Noe Zelaya kick) 8:04
LH—Ferrell 10 run (run failed) 5:05
ROCK—Clayton Gibbs 68 pass from Brinkley (Zelaya kick) 4:43
Second quarter
LH—Perez 5 pass from Ferrell (Jesse Perez
run) 10:19
LH—Jadon Boatright 60 INT return (Perez
run) 9:58
ROCK—Pearce Loth 34 pass from Gibbs
(Zelaya kick) 8:17
LH—Boatright 67 run (Jeremy Rizzotto
kick) 7:42
LH—Will Fromme 2 run (Rizzotto kick)
6:56
ROCK—Walton 17 pass from Gibbs (Zelaya
kick) 2:30
LH—Boatright 58 run (Rizzotto kick) 2:16
LH—Perez 12 pass from Brandon Wells
(Rizzotto kick) :25
Third quarter
ROCK—Loth 22 pass from Gibbs (Zelaya
kick) 9:57
LH—Boatright 43 INT return (Rizzotto
kick) 1:11
Fourth quarter
LH—Wells 1 run (kick blocked) 4:51
LH—Nick Barrios 33 run (Rizzotto kick)
1:54

The Leaders

RUSHING— ROCKDALE: Brooks 9-26,
Dansby 6-20, Ramey 1-2, Hayes 2-34,
Gibbs 4-(-7). LH—Perez 26-235, Boatright
6-156 2TD, Ferrell 24-100 2 TD.
PASSING—ROCKDALE: Brinkley 7-12-2,
184 yards 2TD; Gibbs 16-31-2 237 yards
3TD. LH—Wells 4-7-1, 64 yards, TD.
RECEIVING—ROCKDALE: Loth 6-96 2TD,
Burgess 5-73, Gibbs 1-68 TD, Baldavia
3-90 TD, Walton 3-56 TD, Caffey 2-16,
Gates 1-12, Burton 1-7, Ramey 1-3. LH—
Perez 2-10 2TD.
TACKLES—Hayes 27, David 19, Caffey
15, Coates 11.

TIGER SEASON RESULTS (2-2)

Rockdale 35, Salado 21
Rockdale 24, Burnet 17
Cameron 34, Rockdale 0
Liberty Hill 76, Rockdale 35
Smithville
at Hillsboro
at Taylor
Madisonville
at Navasota
Open
Caldwell


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