By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Big second half dooms Wildcats
Liberty pulls away in final two quarters for 42-7 win
ichmond Hill defensive end Manny Garcia and his teammates forced four Liberty County turnovers in the first half to hang with the Panthers. The Panthers went on to win 42-7. - photo by Terry Logan

With a late first half turnover and touchdown under their belt Richmond Hill had to feel confident in the locker room facing only a touchdown deficit against the favored Liberty County Panthers. The flood of Panther turnovers the Wildcats received in the first half dried up in the second and Liberty County sprinted to a 42-7 Region 3-AAA South win at Olvey Field.

Two late scores on Richmond Hill turnovers made the final score seem worse than it really was - the Wildcats inability to reciprocate - especially in the first half,  kept them from turning the game around.

Liberty County's Roderick Jones returned the opening kickoff to the Richmond Hill 35-yard line and scored three plays later, starting the game in ominous fashion for Richmond Hill. But on their next possession the Wildcats would make their first break.

Wildcat linebacker Justin Hackney recovered his first of two consecutive fumbles to set his team up at their own 32. Another three and out punt and another fumble recovery two plays later would advance Richmond hill to the 45-yard line.

Two quick first downs on back-to-back flat passes to Zach Young and Sean Szad had Richmond Hill in the red zone for the first time. A fumbled pitch attempt ended the drive and the Panthers took over. Two plays later, Zach Young recovered yet another Panther fumble, this time after a short passing gain, and the Wildcats were back at the 45.

Unable to advance again on the following series and then an apparent communication breakdown; the Wildcats faked the punt attempt on fourth and long and the Panthers were not fooled , taking over on downs at the 45 yard line. The Panthers would  sustain their drive this time and score on Thomas Penny's 1-yard run.

Richmond Hill had been given three turnovers without getting points from any of them; that was about to change - thanks to the Wildcat's defense still asserting itself.

On the next series defensive end Manny Garcia just missed a sack and defensive back Alaric Lindqvist just missed an interception. The resulting Panther punt from deep in their own end resulted in a snap that sailed over the punters head and was apparently recovered by Nick Montalto for a touch down. It was ruled down at the 2 yard line instead and Darius Postell took in for the score from there.

Zach Alltop's extra point kick made it a 14-7 deficit at the half and the Wildcats appeared to have momentum on their side, but the second half would not go that way.

The Wildcats got the second half kick off at their own 35 yard line but could not move the ball. They would not pick up a first down until the quarter was winding down. The Panthers had used their first possession to go back to their ground attack out of the I formation and tail back Jones and fullback Dimitri Lane did all the damage. Lane scored from the 19. Edward Chipple's point after kick increased the Panthers edge to 21-7.

Richmond Hill's defense held on the next drive when Garcia pressured Panther quarterback Julian Stokes on a fourth down pass attempt to give his team the ball again. The game; now in the fourth quarter, had seen the Wildcat defense on the field most of the half and it would start to show.
After a Panther interception killed the next Wildcat drive Liberty County put together another scoring march that ended with another Jones’ touchdown to increase the lead to 28-7.

Richmond Hill could have tried running the clock at this point to keep the score respectable but instead they went to the air in the shotgun formation and actually had some success moving the ball.

Xavier Owens scrambled, passed, and connected with Szad andh Young on several nice plays to finally pick up four first downs and move the ball to the 15 yard line. The drive ended however when Owens was picked off in the back of the end zone.

Richmond Hill continued to try and move the ball with the clock winding down but the result was a fumble recovery and another interception, both that went for meaningless Panther touchdowns; inflating the final score.

The Wildcats fell to 1-6 overall, 0-2 in region 3-AAA and will play host to Benedictine for homecoming this week. The Cadets narrowly lost to South Effingham 24-17.      

Sign up for our E-Newsletters