Tonight (October 4, 2013) at Liberty's Memorial Football Stadium, the Liberty Panthers will host the Huffman Falcons in their District 22-3A home opener. Despite it being early in the district season, new changes to UIL rules makes this a game which could have playoff implications come late October. This season four teams will qualify for the playoffs come early November. It is believed that with parity in the district both Huffman and liberty will be battling for one of those spots.
Liberty (1-3, 1-0) earned its first win of the 2013 campaign with a 48-0 District 22-3A road opening thrashing of the Splendora Wildcats. Following an overtime loss to Buna, head coach Chad Taylor promised his team if they kept working hard good things were coming and now two weeks later, the team is quickly becoming a product of their coach and his coaching staff.
Huffman will face a defense that held Splendora to 186 yards of offense including just 22 yards through the air. The Panthers defense begins upfront with seniors Blake Brown and Luke Mangum.
Averaging 24 points per game, Liberty's slot offense is led by the quick feet of quarterback Andrew Fregia and a team of runners including Aric Foster, J.J.Arrington, Matin Doucet and Dennis Antoine.
With two weeks to prepare for this game, the Huffman Falcons (2-1, 0-0) come into the their District 22-3A opener well rested and injury free. Huffman, Liberty's homecoming opponent, displays a wide open aerial attack that will test how far the Liberty defense can be stretched. Sophomore quarterback Cody Gaitan orchestrates a quick strike offense that has scored a 111 points through its first three games including 56 first half points. Fellow sophomore Cesar Marroquin leads the ground game while senior Darion Gray has terrorized the opposition secondary with 29 receptions for 526 yards and eight scores through the season's first three weeks.
Defensively, the Falcons are a ball hawking team forcing opposing offenses into six turnovers. If defensive linemen Trey Gerken and Shane Lummus and linebacker Aaron Vaca (nine combined sacks) continue to meet in the in the opposition's backfield it could be a long night for Liberty.
Liberty head coach Chad Taylor knows something about winning in this annual Liberty/Huffman rivalry that dates back nearly a quarter of a century. Taylor was part of the winning liberty tradition that helped defeat Huffman seventeen straight meetings. Huffman for its part is looking to make it five wins in the last six contests between the two teams.
Regardless of the outcome fans will see a hard fought game on both sides according to Huffman head coach Mike McEachern.
"It should make for a very entertaining game with Liberty who likes to “ground and pound” with their slot offense and us who likes to “air it out”. I respect the job that Coach Taylor and his staff have done this year, they have them playing hard and getting better each week. As a coach that is all you can ask of your kids."