Simpson, Liberty Hill plow through Del Valle defense in nondistrict win
DEL VALLE — The first quarter was not the best for Liberty Hill, but the Panthers used all three facets of the game to close out the nondistrict portion of the schedule strong.
Blake Simpson ran for 142 yards and accounted for five touchdowns and the Panthers scored points on offense, defense and special teams to down Del Valle 44-27 at Veterans Memorial Stadium on Friday.
Simpson had 17 carries and added an 11-yard touchdown reception for Liberty Hill (2-0) and the Panthers rushed for 315 yards as a team.
Del Valle (1-1) quarterback Michael Flores completed 8 of 16 passes for 196 yards and connected with Trent Leary four times for touchdowns while Tavierre Dunlap posted 107 yards rushing on 20 carries.
It was special teams that helped Liberty Hill (2-0) things going after Del Valle scored its first touchdown. Preston Shepard picked up a blocked extra point and ran it back for two points to cut the Cardinals lead to 9-2 late in the first quarter.
After taking possession at midfield after a bad Del Valle punt, Liberty Hill’s slot-T offense picked up a couple of first downs and Simpson went 18 yards right up the middle for a score that gave Liberty Hill a 16-9 lead with 44 seconds remaining in the half.
The Panthers defense made it a two-score game as Kaden McMahan returned an interception 32 yards on the ensuing Del Valle drive to extend Liberty Hill’s advantage to 22-9.
Those were the first two of 22 unanswered points for the Panthers to close out the first half.
Liberty Hill would use that special teams momentum to find the end zone on the ensuing drive as Simpson hauled in Charles Calabretta’s first pass attempt for a 11-yard touchdown reception to tie the game at 9-9. That score was set up after the Panthers returned the kickoff to the Cardinals 14 to begin the drive.
The Panthers defense helped keep Del Valle at bay. Though the Cardinals found the end zone three times in the final 16 minutes of the game, Del Valle never cut the Liberty Hill lead to less than 15 points the rest of the night.
Leary finished the night with 202 yards on seven catches, including touchdown receptions from 45, 72 and 13 yards out in the second half.
Del Valle got on the board first as Aaron Ramirez opened the scoring with a 32-yard field goal and Leary caught a 12-yard touchdown pass from Flores to make it 9-0 Cardinals with 3:40 remaining in the opening frame.