Elijah Gibson ran for a pair of touchdowns and sealed the Union Grove eighth-grade A-team Grizzlies’ conference-opening 28-19 victory Tuesday at Liberty Hill with an interception return TD.

Corey McMilan also ran for a touchdown for Union Grove.

Kenneth Johnson scored all three touchdowns for Liberty Hill on runs of 60, 12 and 72 yards.

The Grizzlies scored early, but Liberty Hill led 13-7 at halftime on two Johnson TDs and an extra point by Prince Hall.

The Grizzlies scored again in the third quarter and led 14-13 when the final period began.

The Lions were forced to punt, but Johnson bobbled the snap. He took off, dodged a few tacklers behind the line of scrimmage and used some blocks to scamper 72 yards for a score and a 19-14 lead.

Liberty Hill got the ball back on downs, but Johnson was sacked on third-and-1 and the Lions successfully punted this time.

Union Grove, aided by penalties and a fourth-and-10 conversion, scored with 1:30 remaining for a 21-19 lead.

With no timeouts remaining, the Lions (3-2) began their next drive at their own 40 following the kickoff. They managed one first down before Gibson’s clinching pick-six on a ball deflected by TJ Hocutt.

Cannon Culp, AJ Bryant, Kaden Vang, Shaun Lawrence, Evan Gardner, Jecari Atiogue, Steven Long, Johnny Helsham and Brayden Olvera each had sacks and tackles for loss for the Grizzlies. Excellent coverage was provided by George Vickers, Adrian de la Torre, Jordan Reynolds, Hocutt and McMilan. Cooper Howard, McMilan and Gibson ran with authority behind the blocking by Riley Greenwald, Jordan Hamilton, Alex Ingenloff, Matthew Bryan, David Blount, Keshaun Robinson, Gilbert Vela, Damarii Bradford and Kelvin Spencer.

The Liberty Hill defense matched the Grizzlies intensity and picked off two passes. Marc Ealy had the first one when he jumped in front of a Union Grove receiver and took the ball from him. Evan Dowling recorded the second with a diving catch of a tipped ball.

Other offensive standouts for Liberty Hill were Kyle Jones, Jayden Cupitt, Ty Oliver and Arik Brice.

Defensive standouts also included Joshua Johnson, Jeremiah Ottley, Jaden Ottley and Jamison Guy.

The eighth-grade Lions are off this week and travel to Palo Alto on Oct. 19.

SMITH 8A 0, NOLAN 8A 0, TIE: Smith’s Leopards had a touchdown called back by a penalty just before halftime and ended up drawing with the Mustangs.

DJ Moore and William Thomas each had an interception for the Leopards.

SMITH 8B 35, NOLAN 8B 0: Cameron Durant, Quay’John Gaither, Samuel Morgan, Ladanty Harris and Michael Jenkins all scored touchdowns in the Leopards’ victory.

The stingy Leopard defense, led by Carter Gebert and Antonio Malpica, posted another shutout.

LIBERTY HILL 7A 20, UNION GROVE 7A 0: Standouts for the defeated Grizzlies were Jaman Oaks, Juan Luebano, Marvin Hatcher, Hudson Hanover, William Hansen, Colton Hanks, Nixon Fajardo, Jeremiah Flagg, Jayden Gardner, Jaden Abramsen, Marcus Majors and Ian Young.

LIVE OAK RIDGE 7A 33, PATTERSON 7A 6: The Lobos lost the shutout when Patterson’s Caleb Bland scored on a long run in the fourth quarter.

Patterson’s seventh-graders play Audie Murphy on Tuesday.

MIDDLE SCHOOL VOLLEYBALL

Oct. 4

LIBERTY HILL 7A DEF. UNION GROVE 7A 25-22, 25-18: June Speer led the defeated Grizzlies with nine service points.

Other scorers for Union Grove were Madison Walker (four points), Ashlyn Towlson and Janelly Rios-Hernandez (three points) and Aryana Wright (one).

UNION GROVE 7B DEF. LIBERTY HILL 7B 25-17, 25-17: Kenadee Thomas led a balanced serving attack with seven points in the Grizzlies’ victory.

Madisen Wilkens added six points for Union Grove. Peityn Porreco scored five, Mekhia Thomas added four, Emilee Morris had three and Yona Vega had two. Rylen Richardson, O’Ttavia Denton and Savannah Bassett made some good plays at the net.

UNION GROVE 8A DEF. LIBERTY HILL 8A 25-10, 25-15: At Union Grove, Gabi Kenworthy and Amaiah Amani each served nine points and the Grizzlies won their conference.

Other scorers for Union Grove (7-2 overall) were Janeen Lashly-Hill (six points), Zania Wilder (five), Kylee Plake (four) and Tiarra Harris (two).

Union Grove’s eighth-graders travel to Palo Alto on Wednesday.

SMITH 8A DEF. NOLAN 8A 11-25, 25-20, 25-20: Jeishanice Reyes had eight kills and the Lady Leopards rallied for their second conference win.

Other standouts for Smith were Maribel Ruiz (three aces and a kill), Yainerys Lopez Guzman (three aces), Jurnee Haynes (two aces), Jynasis Hasty and Riley Crist (one ace and one kill each).

The eighth-grade Lady Leopards host Manor on Wednesday.

PATTERSON 8A DEF. LIVE OAK RIDGE 8A 25-14, 25-20: Bianca Duprey had two kills, five aces and 12 digs to lead the Cavaliers to a victory.

Other contributors for Patterson were Ayona Bailey (one block, two digs), Lyric Harris (nine service points, one ace and eight digs), Alina Martin (two points and 13 digs), Alexis Roberson (three digs), Melissa Perez (one kill and three digs), Jazmin Rodriguez (two assists, 13 points, two aces and eight digs), Kyra Pitts (six digs), Kamila Merchan-Liu (one kill, six points and 14 digs), Sophia Paton (seven points, two aces, seven digs) and Max Rosario (three digs).

UNION GROVE 8B DEF. LIBERTY HILL 8B 25-17, 25-8: At Union Grove, Hailea Vega served seven points and the Grizzlies won their conference opener.

Other scorers for Union Grove (7-2 overall) were KiAna Lemons (five points), Kaya Dressing (four) and Iyana Duran and Karis Jefferson (three each). Jefferson also had two spikes.

SMITH 8B DEF. NOLAN 8B 29-27, 25-3: Christany Vaughn served 21 straight points in the second set to help the Lady Leopards finish off a win after a hard-fought opening set.

Other contributors for Smith were Madison Sherman and Destini Whitney (one kill each), Neveah Hasty (two points) and Sydney Williams (two points, a kill and a block).

LIVE OAK RIDGE 8B DEF. PATTERSON 8B 25-23, 25-16: Sharmaine Martin served 15 points to go with six aces, seven digs and one assist for the defeated Cavaliers.

Other contributors for Patterson were Hailey Powers (four points, one ace), Amiyah Bush (one kill, four points and eight digs), Serenity Guel (three digs), Keira Hellberg (four points, three aces and one dig), Kayoni Harrell (one ace, six digs) and Jada Kent (one assist and seven digs).

Patterson’s eighth-graders travel to Audie Murphy on Wednesday.

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