Eagles Caged the Mountain Grove Panthers 22-21
Wed, 10/07/2020 - 11:43am admin
Homecoming Celebrated at Liberty Halftime
Michael L. Plum, sports correspondent
Fall is the season for changing leaves, hot chocolate, pumpkin spice, and Football Homecoming. The 3-2 Liberty Eagles were host to the 2-3 Mountain Grove Panthers Friday night. Liberty is down a starting wide receiver, Jentry Acklin #17, due to an injury from last week's game. Acklin suffered a hip injury on a 44-yard reception against the Willow Springs Bears.
"I should be back next week," said Acklin.
The evening events began with the Liberty Eagles High School Band playing the National Anthem followed by the coin toss at the 50-yard line. The Panthers won the toss and deferred to the second half, electing to kick the ball to the Eagles. Eagles team Captain Tyler Watts #10 and Panthers Captain Alex Casas shook hands, and the game was on.
After the kickoff, the Eagles took over on their own 49-yard line. With decent field position and a cool 55 degrees, junior Tyler Watts led the Eagles offense onto the field. The first series for the Eagles appeared to be a success in the making. After Watts had made two complete passes and the Eagles offensive line, led by senior Braden Gastineau #67, helped with the running game, the team was marching downfield. The final play that ended the drive was Tyler Watts #10 throwing an interception to Panthers’ defensive back, Todd Edwards #25 in the endzone. The Panthers took over at their own 20-yard line.
Eagle Dalton Pauly #24 stopped the runner to give the Panthers a second down. Zeb Cornman #33 was in on the next three plays. He made the second down tackle to give the Panthers a third-and-three. Then, Cornman swatted the ball out of the air to bring up fourth-and-three.
Panthers’ Head Coach Bradon Rodgers decided to roll the dice and go for it, and again Zeb Cornman came up with the stop.
Watts, now at helm for the Eagles and determined to score started, using his feet. Deep in Panthers’ territory, Watts connected with Drew Ripko #7 for a fourth down TD! Noah Jester #8 scored the two-point conversion, and Liberty put eight points up in the first quarter.
The Panthers would put eight points up, followed by an Eagles touchdown. At halftime the Eagles led the Panthers 14-8.
The 2020 Homecoming ceremony at halftime was full of beautiful young ladies and handsome young men all dressed to impress. The Princess Candidates and Escorts were Freshman Sydney Radford, daughter of Derrick and Regena Radford, escorted by Dalton Vermillion, son of Audy and Kerri Vermillion. Sophomore Kenzie Daniels, daughter of Kevin and Tiffany Daniels, escorted by Kason Richards, son of Steve Richards and Melody Young. Junior Shelby Acklin, daughter of Cory and Lacy Acklin, escorted by Hayden Foster, son of David and Jennifer Foster. Senior Kelstin Roy, daughter of Scott and Annie Roy, escorted by Gunner Barnes, son of Bobbie and Stacey Barnes.
The Queen Candidates were Senior Brooklyn Billeck, daughter of Dennis Voyles and Tracy Sickmeier, escorted by Briar Tune, son of Brian and Michelle Tune. Senior Chloe Young, daughter of Jesse and Misty Young, escorted by Briar Barnes, son of Bobbie and Stacey Barnes. Senior Jocelyn Clark, daughter of Steven and Laura Clark, escorted by Broc Bay, son of Justin Bay and Shannel Spear. Senior Shayla Denton, daughter of Jim and Beverly Denton, escorted by Jonah Conley. The Flower Girl was Peyton French, daughter of Justin and Darra French. The Crown Bearer was Easton Renegar, son of Robert and Lea Renegar. Flower Girl/Crown Bearer Escort was Isobel Tripp, daughter of Eric and Karena Tripp. The Retiring Queen Ellie Reed, daughter of Patrick and Tara Reed presented the Crown to the New Queen Senior Jocelyn Clark and flowers to the Princess, Senior Kelstin Roy.
The third quarter was mostly defensive play for the Eagles as they had the pigskin for a short three-and-out series. The Eagles’ defense did prevent the Panthers from scoring in the third, though they had the ball for almost ten minutes of the quarter.
The Panthers would put seven more on the board in the fourth bringing the score to 14-15, Panthers. Watts followed by putting six up for Liberty followed by a two-point conversion by Carter Pruett #5.
With 4:55 left in the fourth, the Panthers trailed the Eagles 22-15. Panthers took the ball deep into Eagles territory at third-and-fifteen. The Panthers were in the shotgun formation and Freshman Brody Rutledge #55 came up with his first Varsity sack.
It was fourth-and-goal from the 17-yard line when the Panthers scored six. Now trailing by one point, 22-21, Panthers’ head Coach decided to go for the win and the Eagles stop #21 Hollen Glenn on an end-around run to the far side. With only one option, the Panthers kicked an onside kick, but recovered by Noah Jester #8 recovered the ball. The Eagles were in Victory formation and ran out the remaining 1:17 on the clock.
The Eagles will host the Cabool Bulldogs this Friday, October 9 at 7:00 p.m.