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Cougars’ successful season ends in Semifinals

Crosby Cougars take the field against Liberty Hill Panthers in a Class 5A Division II semi-final rematch at Bryan’s Merrill Green Stadium. (Photo by Allan Jamail)

Liberty Hill 42 – Crosby 14

By Allan Jamail

Bryan, TX — On Friday, December 10, 2021, the Crosby Cougars lost to Liberty Hill 42-14 in a Class 5A Division II semi-final rematch at the Merrill Green Stadium, snapping their 12-game winning streak and ending with a 12-3 record.

The game’s Team Captains were Braden Womack, Cyrin Myles, Kameren Kirkwood, and McCoy Casey.

Last season it was the Cougars who won against the Panthers. In the semifinals last year, Crosby won with a 62-61 overtime victory after the Panthers fumbled the ball inside the 1-yard-line on the 2-point conversation to try to win it. Crosby lost the state title game to Aledo the following week in Arlington.

Crosby won the coin flip and deferred, wanting to kickoff to the Panthers so they could open the second half receiving the kickoff. Crosby’s defense held the Panthers, forcing them to punt. Things looked good for the Cougars as they marched down the field near the goal, when quarterback (QB) Cyrin Myles run came up inches short of the goal (see photo in print edition). On the next play when the ball was centered, Myles couldn’t control it and a Panther pounced on it, stopping what would have put the Cougars ahead for the game’s first score.

The turnover fired up the Panthers as they marched down the field, scoring a touchdown (TD) with 3 minutes before 1st quarter’s end. They scored two more times before halftime, keeping the Cougars scoreless, with a 21-0 lead.

The Cougars took the 2nd half kickoff but couldn’t move the ball and had to punt. Both teams exchanged a couple punts. With 4 minutes into the 3rd quarter, Crosby fumble again, and it was picked up by Panther’s defensive end Aaron Brewer and returned 27 yds a for TD, taking the lead to 28-0.

Crosby’s only points came in the finals minutes of the 3rd quarter. Wide receiver Kameren Kirkwood took a pitchout from QB Cyrin Myles for a 10 yd TD. The Cougars defense held the Panthers to get the ball back and with seconds left in the 3rd quarter. Crosby sophomore running back Levi Fontenot went for a 46-yard gain, and on the next play, Miles hit Kirkwood on a pass to score a TD with 55 seconds left in the third quarter, to cut Liberty Hill’s lead to 28-14. Trevor Helburg kicked the extra points.

The Panthers defense shutout Crosby in the 4th quarter, and scored two more TDs, ending the game 42-14.

Crosby’s head coach Jerry Prieto said, “We made some mistakes that you can’t make in a semifinal game. We will learn from it and move on. I love these kids and this senior class. They did a lot of things that people didn’t expect from them. They just came up fighting and I’m really proud of them. They took our program to another level. The program hasn’t had the kind of success it has in the last couple of years.”

Liberty Hill (13-2) advances to the state championship game next week in Arlington’s AT&T Stadium. The Panthers will face fifth-ranked South Oak Cliff, which beat No. 4 Lubbock Cooper 44-10 on Friday in the other semifinal. The 5A Division II championship game is set for 11 a.m. Dec. 18.