LIBERTY HILL — A last-ditch field goal try by China Spring went awry, allowing Liberty Hill to survive one of the wilder games of the season, 59-58, on Friday night.
Both teams put up loads of offense in the District 13-4A shootout. The Panthers’ Kyle Harrison scored on a 15-yard run with just 28 seconds to play to move ahead. But China Spring (6-3, 2-2) quickly moved the ball into field goal range, but the final kick went for naught.
It was a tough defeat for the Cougars, who held a 36-21 lead at the half, mostly thanks to a steady offensive onslaught led by Cayden Johnson and Tyrick James. Johnson hit James on a 73-yard strike late in the first quarter to push China Spring ahead, 21-7, and James made it a two-score advantage early in the second with a 4-yard scoring run.
But Liberty Hill caught fire in the second half, behind the running of Harrison, who had five TD runs in all. The Panthers also took advantage of a successful onside kick and a fumble recovery on defense.
When James scored his fourth touchdown of the night on a 30-yard TD catch with 5:39 to go, China Spring led, 52-44. But Liberty Hill’s Reece Hudson made a wild, one-handed catch for a 52-yard gain on the Panthers’ ensuing possession, and Harrison cashed in with a 5-yard TD run to tie the game two minutes later.