The Liberty Panthers dropped to 3 and 3 on the football season Saturday night with another really tough loss – 14-6, on the road, to the Orangefield Bobcats. Liberty's record is now 0-3 in District 11-4A. Clearly the game Saturday was a cliff hanger and this conference game was decided on 2 plays in the game. In case you missed it, game day changed not once but twice. First, concern over the hard charging Hurricane Delta called for a change from Friday to Thursday and then coaches agreed to change it again from a Thursday game to Saturday. And once underway it was a toss up with super defensive performances by both. Liberty's running game showed some flashes but they were held overall to just 185 yards of offense. Liberty’s only score came by way of a 28-yard pass from Kaden Nolan to VIncent Harris. The Junior QB was 8 of 14 in the air good for 1 touchdown but 1 interception. Otherwise, Liberty was squeaky clean. No fumbles and just two penalties that totaled 15 yards. However, Coach Chad Taylors charges did turn the ball over-on-downs three times. Meanwhile the Orangefield Bobcats had only 167 total yards of offense – that was 18 yards less than Liberty had for the night. The Panthers hard-nosed defense only allowed 57 Bobcat yards in the entire 2nd half. Both
11 – 4A teams were close to identical on many statistical levels. The Bobcats led 7-0 very late in the first period. Then In the second quarter Liberty caused an Orangefield fumble and capitalized. QB Kaden Nolan fired a 28 yard strike to Vincent Harris for the TD. Freshman Brian Montes' P.A.T. was tipped at the line of scrimmage and did not clear the crossbar. That was Montes first miss of the entire season. The score stood at 7 to 6 in favor of the Bobcats with about 4 ½ minutes left in the first half. Then, after scoring, Liberty kicked off. The Bobcat return was what some say was the most dramatic play of the game. Orangefield returned Liberty's kick-off 73 yards to the Panthers 23. Eight plays later, the Bobcat offense scored on a 1-yard plunge. Their point-after was good and the score was Orangefield 14-Liberty 6, with just seconds remaining in the first half. Liberty's swarming defense held Orangefield to only 57 yards of offense in the entire 2nd half and gave the Panthers the opportunity to get back in the game. The second half however was all about defense and both teams were great at it. Liberty had one really good drive in the late going but a pass interception by the Bobcats snuffed that out and Orangefield ran out the clock to seal the deal, Orangefield 14, Liberty 6. Neither team could muster points in the second half. Liberty is now winless in district play after winning their first three non-district games and now are 3-3 on the season. The locals have been solidly in all three district games but just could not pull out a win where it counts. Liberty has an open date next week and now preps for perennial powerhouse, the West Orange-Stark Mustangs. That game will be at Liberty's Memorial Stadium at 7:30 October 23.