BRYAN – In an undisputed best game of the Texas high school play-offs, the Cougars scratched the Liberty Hill Panthers 62 to 61 last Friday.
This Friday, the Cougars travel to Arlington to take on Aledo, defending their third straight State title. That sounds daunting but Crosby has conquered four undefeated teams in a row now. These include an overtime stinging of the Huntsville Hornets 32-29; Fort Bend Marshall 37-38 who were two-time reigning state finalist. The last time Crosby was this far along in the hunt for the State was 1960. This team intends to get there; their motto is “All Gas And No Brakes.”
Against Liberty Hill Panthers, Crosby dominated in the first quarter with an early score after defenses on both sides conceded forced punts.
Liberty Hill, a first season 5A football contender with a distinguished career in 4A under coach Jeff Walker, who expired in November, has dazzled all opponents with a slot-t offense but needed to go to the air against the Cougars. With just over three minutes left in the opening quarter, Liberty Hill scored on a pass. Liberty Hill ran for over 230 yards in the first half; pass completions got them touchdowns.
Crosby would conclude the opening quarter with a touchdown with seconds left.
The Panthers came raging back in the second quarter and passed to Blake Lynch for an 80 yard touchdown, but Crosby returned the kickoff, 21-14.
Both teams would score again in the middle of the quarter, like counter-punching boxers, until Liberty Hill tied it up at 28. That is when Crosby put on the best offensive display between Dunn and Branch to take the lead again, with a series of runs and passes to go up by another touchdown in two minutes. The Cougar defense stopped the Panthers shy of a touchdown three times, and they had to rely on a field goal. At halftime, Crosby led Liberty Hill 35-31.
The third quarter was Crosby dominant: they got the ball back from the kickoff, three touchdowns, and forcing a Liberty Hill turnover, they were with the catbird, 55-39. Reggie Branch and Deniquez Dunn make a unique offensive team, with a variety of potential weapons that have amassed over 4,000 yards in a season. But a blocked Cougar extra point would be meaningful for the Panthers.
The Panthers took command early in the Fourth Quarter: two touchdowns, two-point conversions owing to an onside kick recovery, and with less that two minutes left, Crosby fumbled. Overtime saw 55 each. Crosby relied on one of the best team plays in their arsenal and scored, adding the kick. Liberty Hill answered with a touchdown, but as they dashed for the extra two points again and victory, they fumbled at the goal.