Tigers come out on top in renewed rivalry

Texas High-48, Libery-Eylau-39

Senior+running+back+Markese+Martin+stiff+arms+Liberty-Eylau%27s+Triston+Brooks.+The+Tigers+defeated+the+Leopards+48-39.+

Photo by Emily Meinzer

Senior running back Markese Martin stiff arms Liberty-Eylau’s Triston Brooks. The Tigers defeated the Leopards 48-39.

Liberty-Eylau and Texas High took to the field tonight for the first time in three years at Tiger Stadium at Grim Park. The game ended as a Tiger victory against their newest rivals with a final score of 48-39.

Liberty-Eylau was forced to punt on their first drive, which was returned by Quan Hampton for a 65-yard Tiger touchdown only two minutes into the game. After a series of offensive plays, Leopard running back Kevin Florence finished their next drive with a 13-yard drive for Liberty-Eylau to score a touchdown with 5:30 left in the quarter. The Leopard’s 2-point conversion was denied by Hampton. The first quarter ended with an unsuccessful Tiger drive, leaving the score Texas High up 7-6.

Liberty-Eyalu was forced to punt early in the second quarter. The Tigers made slow progress down the field. Quarterback Cade Pearson passed to Hampton for a 41-yard touchdown four minutes into in the quarter. The Leopards disrupted the Tiger’s second extra point attempt, bringing the score to Tigers 13-6.

The Leopards went on to make 30 yards worth of offensive plays before defensive back Eric Sutton intercepted the ball and and ran it for an 85-yard touchdown. The Tiger PAT attempt was good, bringing the score to Texas High up 20-6 with five minutes left in the half.

Liberty-Eylau made quick progress down the field, scoring a second touchdown with two minutes left in the second quarter. Their attempted 2-point conversion was again denied by the Tigers, making the score Texas 20-12.

With a minute left in the second quarter, the Tigers quickly rebounded with a 42-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Tevailance Hunt. The extra point kick was good, bringing the score to 27-12 with Texas High in the lead. Liberty-Eylau proceeded to push to the Tiger 15, where they choked after two timeouts with only 10 seconds to go in the half. The Leopards failed to score, leaving the Tigers in the lead.

Devuntay Walker received the Leopard kickoff and returned it to their 45-yard line to open the third quarter. Texas High pushed up the field where Pearson fumbled the ball on the 5-yard line. The fumble was recovered by Donald Caldwell for Liberty-Eylau and run to the Tiger 21. Leopard quarterback Decorian Phillips handed the ball off to Florence who ran it for a 79-yard touchdown and good PAT. The score left Tigers still leading 27-19, three minutes into the third.

Texas drove from the 21, cumulating in a Tiger touchdown by running back Markese Martin with six minutes left on the clock. The extra point kick was good, putting Texas High up 34-19. Liberty-Eylau’s drive ended on the Texas 22 after they elected not to punt on fourth down, turnover Texas High. The Tigers ran down the last four minutes to wrap up the third quarter.

After a slow push to the 48, Pearson launched a pass to Walker, who was horsecollar tackled at the Liberty-Eylau 16 with a penalty on the Leopards. The Tigers started at the 8-yard line. A quick pass from Pearson to wide receiver Jeremy Hamilton scored Texas’ sixth touchdown of the night. After a good PAT kick, the score totalled Texas High up 41-19.

“It was a crazy game,” head coach Barry Norton said. “But were able to make the plays we needed to.”

Liberty-Eylau came back with a strong push to the Texas end zone, ultimately making a touchdown five minutes into the last quarter. The score left Tigers 41-25 after the Leopards 2-point conversion was denied. Liberty-Eylau kicked an onsides kick and recovered it at the Texas 41. Phillips then threw a 41-yard pass for another Leopard touchdown. The 2-point conversion was once again batted down by the Tiger defense, as Liberty-Eylau pulled within 10 points of Texas 41-31 with seven minutes left to go on the game clock.

Another onsides kick was executed, this time received by Riley Russell at the Texas 47. Pearson started the Texas drive with a pass to Hampton for a gain of 27 yards. After several more short plays, Pearson handed the ball off to Martin for a 10-yard run to another touchdown. Texas lead with 48-31.

“I’m proud of my team,” senior Quan Hampton said. “We had to come out and play hard to win this game.”

The Leopards executed a series of failed plays until making a touchdown with 8.8 seconds left on the clock. Despite this, the Tigers emerged victorious with a final score of 48-39.

“The [offensive line] did great tonight blocking, had some huge plays and looked really good,” Liberty-Eylau offensive coordinator Rick Cullum said. “Not having a sense of urgency and offensive miscues is really what got us.”