Kenneth Johnson ran and passed for a touchdown and the Liberty Hill Lions rallied from a 14-0 deficit to salvage a 14-14 tie with Union Grove on Tuesday in an eighth-grade A-team game at Palo Alto Middle School.
The Patriots took a 6-0 lead in the second quarter. The lead grew to 8-0 after a Liberty Hill punt snap sailed over Johnson’s head and out of the end zone for a safety.
Palo Alto stretched the lead to 14-0 in the second half on a touchdown pass.
With less than 6 minutes remaining, Liberty Hill’s defense bowed up for a fourth-down stop inside the Patriots 20. Moments later, Johnson connected with Kylian Knight from 23 yards for the first Lions score on the night. Johnson added the extra point to cut the Patriot lead to 14-7.
With momentum on the Lions’ side, the defense forced a turnover on the next possession when Evan Dowling hit the Palo Alto QB and the ball popped free. Antonio Bunton recovered for the Lions.
Liberty Hill moved down the field. Johnson found Jeremiah Ottley for a big gain and the Lions were in business inside the 5-yard line. Johnson scored on third-and-goal when he reached the ball over the goal line after getting hit by two Patriots defenders. Johnson added another extra point to tie the game at 14.
The Lions (3-2-1, 0-1-1 conference) forced one last turnover on downs after a failed onside attempt. Johnson dropped back to pass on the last play of the game and a big hit by the Patriots forced a fumble that the Lions were able to recover.
The Liberty Hill offensive line stepped up in the second half. Harrison Lyon, Dominic Todd,
Kyle Jones, Jayden Cupitt, Azir Ward, Canaan Johnson, Arik Brice and Jace Watkins opened running lanes and gave Johnson time to throw.
Prince Hall had a fumble recovery and sack for the Liberty Hill defense. Cupitt (sack), Nate Jones (interception), Evan Dowling (two forced fumbles, two sacks), Cam’ron Rogers and Joshua Johnson also contributed.
The 8A Lions 8A travel to Rancier on Tuesday.
SMITH 8A 45, AUDIE MURPHY 8A 0: The Leopards were effective on the ground and in the air to remain undefeated.
Smith allowed just one first down and forced three turnovers.
The eighth-grade Leopards host Live Oak Ridge on Tuesday for the conference championship.
RANCIER 7A DEF. UNION GROVE 7A: Standouts for the defeated Grizzlies included 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.
MIDDLE SCHOOL VOLLEYBALL
UNION GROVE 8A DEF. RANCIER 8A 25-13, 25-10: Amaiah Amani served 10 points to lead the Grizzlies to a victory.
Other scorers for Union Grove (8-3, 2-1 conference) were Charli Wozniak and Zania Wilder (seven points each), Gabi Kenworthy (six), Janeen Lashley-Hill (five) and Kylee Plake (one). Tiara Harris made key tips at the net.
Union Grove’s 8B team won by forfeit because Rancier does not have a B team. The 8B Grizzlies are 8-3 overall and 2-1 in conference.
Union Grove’s eighth-graders host Eastern Hills in a conference finale today.
NOLAN 8A DEF. PATTERSON 8A 25-19, 25-8: Setter Annabelle Boyes served 12 points, including five aces, to help the Lady Mustangs earn the victory.
Marissa Hinojos added 10 service points with two aces. Boyes, Mikayla Cromwell, Hinojos and libero Arianna Mickleberry were sharp with their passing. Reagan Craft, Haley Deboe and Kennedy Kees were aggressive at the net.
Nolan improved to 8-2 overall and 3-1 in conference play.
PATTERSON 8B DEF. NOLAN 8B 25-16, 25-23: The Cavaliers held off a comeback attempt by Nolan to win in a sweep.
Stellar defensive passing came from Nolan libero I’mani Childs, Teagan Rogalla, Nevaeh Smith and Kasi Yonkey. Emily Crosby led the team in completed serves.
Nolan fell to 7-2 overall and 1-2 in conference play.
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