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.
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.”
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),
Passing—Brinkley 53-97-7, 804
yards, 6 TD; Gibbs 16-33-2, 237
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.
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
LH—Perez 5 pass from Ferrell (Jesse Perez
LH—Jadon Boatright 60 INT return (Perez
ROCK—Pearce Loth 34 pass from Gibbs
(Zelaya kick) 8:17
LH—Boatright 67 run (Jeremy Rizzotto
LH—Will Fromme 2 run (Rizzotto kick)
ROCK—Walton 17 pass from Gibbs (Zelaya
LH—Boatright 58 run (Rizzotto kick) 2:16
LH—Perez 12 pass from Brandon Wells
(Rizzotto kick) :25
ROCK—Loth 22 pass from Gibbs (Zelaya
LH—Boatright 43 INT return (Rizzotto
LH—Wells 1 run (kick blocked) 4:51
LH—Nick Barrios 33 run (Rizzotto kick)
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)
|Liberty Hill||76,||Rockdale 35|