Eagles lose to Panthers after long delay
Wed, 10/06/2021 - 2:48pm admin
Andrew Snider, sports correspondent
High school football is very much a game of momentum. The key is to grab that momentum and hang onto it for as long as possible. For the Liberty Eagles Friday night, they gained momentum on the Mountain Grove Panthers right before half on a long touchdown pass from Drew Ripko to Kal Acklin. That cut the Panther lead to just 16-22. Moments later, that momentum came to a halt in the form of mother nature. What proceeded was a longer than two-hour rain delay. After the lengthy delay, Liberty could muster less than 10 yards for the remainder of the game, ultimately falling to Mountain Grove 16-36.
The game started with promise for the Eagles as they marched down field and scored on their opening drive. Jentry Acklin caught a 29-yard touchdown pass from Gavin Reese. Drew Ripko ran in the two-point conversion for the 8-0 lead.
Mountain Grove then answered with an eleven-play scoring drive of their own. Drew Vaughan caught a Tyson Elliott pass for the Panther tally. Isiah Hellbusch punched in the two-points for the tie 8-8.
Liberty's second drive seemed like their first, driving down the field methodically. But, the Panthers defense stiffened up and held the Eagles out of the end zone.
Isiah Hellbusch capped off a ten-play series for the Panthers with a seven-yard gallop. He notched the two-points with the run to make it 8-16 Grove.
The Eagles' next drive showed promise but fell apart after back-to-back penalties and a Panther interception.
After ten plays, Vaughan caught his second touchdown of the game from Elliot for the Panthers.
Liberty then used a clever tactic against the Panthers on the kickoff. Mountain Grove was forced to kick three times after their first two kicks went out-of-bounds. Each kick moved them back fifteen yards. The next play, Ripko found Kal Acklin for the touchdown right before the delay.
The Eagles couldn't seem to find any offensive rhythm after the delay. Rain hampered the Eagle's passing attack and the Panthers made it hard to find any room on the ground. Mountain Grove managed two more second half scores. One run from Hellbusch and one from Elliott made the final score 16-36.
Liberty looks ahead to this week with a matchup against the 3-3 Cabool Bulldogs, at the "Pit."