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Game 4 vs. Frisco Liberty

Liberty Slips Past Bulldogs 29-17

By Bobby Summers

It was a rainy night in Frisco last Friday night. And with bolts of lightning streaking across the sky, it was actually a welcomed sight. After 70 one hundred degree days and a drought that has left the entire State of Texas baking in its wake, there were not many people complaining about the hour and a half delay for the start of a high school football game.

Everybody was anxious however for the kickoff as the Royse City Bulldogs met the undefeated Frisco Liberty Redhawks at Frisco Memorial Stadium. The Redhawks (3-0) and the Bulldogs (0-4) kicked off their final pre-district game at 9:00 last Friday night.

Even though the lightning struck last about 30 minutes prior to kickoff, it was the Bulldogs that struck first as they received the opening kickoff but stalled out early and were forced to punt. Frisco Liberty muffed the punt that resulted in a fumble recovery by the Bulldogs on the Redhawk 38 yard line. A 13 yard pass completion to Michael Webb on fourth and four set up a 22 yard touchdown pass from Bulldog quarterback Wes Brookshire to Webb. The extra point kick was good by Sean Pollock and the Bulldogs held a 7-0 lead with 5:59 to play in the first quarter.

Frisco Liberty however would take advantage of the wet football, slippery turf and other weather related items to score twice in the second period. The Redhawks did not need the help of the 15 yard facemask penalty, but they got it and also a first down on the Bulldog 12 yard line. Three plays later Frisco Liberty quarterback Zack Smith scored on a one yard run. The kick was good by JB McBride and the Bulldogs and Redhawks were locked in a tie with 8:03 to play in the first half.

A missed 32 yard field goal by Frisco Liberty and two possessions late, a shanked punt gave Liberty the ball on the Bulldog 44 yard line. Two pass completions gave the Redhawks a first and goal on Royse City’s two yard line. Quarterback Zack Smith called his own number again and with :45 remaining in the first half, the Redhawks took a 14-7 lead.

The Bulldogs used the onside kick to perfection and especially with the slippery conditions it was the call to be made as last week’s player of the week Clint Sherman recovered the ball to start the second half. However, the slick football caused handling problems and the Bulldogs found themselves losing yardage following pressure from the Redhawks defense and fumbled or high snaps caused by the weather conditions.

The Bulldogs would however get close enough to set up a 35 yard field goal and with 6:19 to play in the third quarter Sean Pollock kicked his fifth field goal of the season.

With the Bulldogs trailing 14-10, they went back to the onside kick which was not successful. However a 15 yard penalty for spearing on Royse City gave the Redhawks a first and ten on the Bulldog 34 yard line.

Liberty quarterback Smith then threw a spear of his own and hit Jeremy Embry on a 34 yard touchdown strike. The ensuing two point conversion was intercepted by Bulldog Ryan Perry as Liberty settled for the 20-10 lead with 5:35 to play in the third quarter.

The slippery football was still playing havoc as the Bulldogs fumbled on second and 15 on their own 17 yard line. The gift to the Redhawks was short lived however as Royse City’s Vince Jones broke up his second pass in the endzone, then with the help of that Bulldog defense they also caused a fumble that was picked up by linebacker J.R. Arredondo and then returned 67 yards down to the 18 yard line of the Redhawks.

Then came the Bulldog ‘Cannonball Express’ as linebackers Damion Foster and J.R. Arredondo along with Ryan Perry lined up in the backfield. After three brutal running play that set the Redhawks on their heels, the Bulldogs faked the run up the middle and quarterback Wes Brookshire easily cruised around his left end and scored from six yards out. Pollocks kick was good and the Bulldogs were once again in the hunt with 1:09 to play in the third period and trailing 20-17.

The Bulldogs onside kick failed on the next try, however the Royse City defense forced a three and out and they received the punt on their own 14 yard line.

A 27 yard pass completion by Brookshire to Jake Horbacz brought the ball back up close to midfield, but as a light rain began again the Bulldogs again shanked the slick football and Liberty regained possession close to the midfield marker. Two plays later Zack Smith scored his third touchdown of the night on a 48 yard scamper with 8:37 to play in the game. The PAT was good and Liberty took a 27-17 lead.

With 4:45 to play in the game, the Redhawks punted and pinned the Bulldogs back to their own one yard line. On second down the Bulldogs were called for holding in their own end zone. The ruling on such a play is a safety for Frisco Liberty and two points were awarded to the hometown Redhawks. With 3:58 to play in the game Frisco Liberty took a 29-17 lead.

With frazzled nerves the Bulldogs were then penalized 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct and they were placed on their own 10 yard line to kick off the Frisco Liberty. With time running out, the Bulldogs tried a desperation attempt on a possible recovery on a short kickoff, the ball however was recovered. And with the Bulldogs fighting until the end and the time approaching midnight, Frisco Liberty kept their undefeated season intact as they breathed a sigh of relief that they escaped with the 29-17 victory.

The Bulldogs will open District 13-4A play this week when they will host the Texarkana Texas High Tigers at Royse City ISD Stadium this Friday. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30. It will also be Royse City Youth Association appreciation night and the youth within the city will be honored at the game.