Mustangs drop home opener to Liberty

Posted 9/4/20

The Liberty Panthers outscored Madisonville 20-7 in the second half Friday to cruise to a 23-10 victory and spoil the Mustangs’ home opener at MHS.

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Mustangs drop home opener to Liberty

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The Liberty Panthers outscored Madisonville 20-7 in the second half Friday to cruise to a 23-10 victory and spoil the Mustangs’ home opener at MHS.

“We still have a bunch of inexperienced guys with just two games under their belts,” said head coach Russell Urbantke after the game. “We need to learn from this and not make the same mistakes twice.”

Trailing 10-3 midway through the third quarter, the Mustangs had a chance to retaliate after Liberty opened the half with a quick scoring drive to take the lead. Quarterback Armando Juarez found tight end Josh Griffin deep downfield on third down to put Madisonville at the 23.

The Mustangs would fight their way down inside the five after a Patrick Brazzell carry and threaten to tie the game, but Liberty’s front had other plans.

“We were tired, mentally and physically,” said Juarez. “We could have prepared better. We could have been better in practice. (Urbantke) was telling us all week that (Liberty) was a different team, and I guess we just didn't take that to the head.”

Four straight Madisonville runs, three by Juarez, were stuffed by the Panthers for a critical goal line stand that would define the remainder of the game.

“They were giving us some fits up front and we didn't block them very well,” said Urbantke. “(The goal line stand) was a back-breaker for us.”

The Panthers ran out the remainder of the third quarter before capping off a 97-yard scoring drive on the first play of the fourth, taking a two-possession lead and never looking back.

After Madisonville managed Liberty’s strong offensive front and ground attack in the first half, the Panthers broke out and controlled the line of scrimmage in the second half.

“We had them in the (first half) but my boys got tired, we needed to be a little more physical,” said defensive lineman Jer’Tavius Brown, who spoke in front of the team in the postgame huddle following Urbantke’s sentiments. “I just told them I take that loss on my back because I should have been on them more at practice. I should have been on them more because I am the leader of the defense.”

Madisonville took an early 3-0 advantage on a 23-yard field goal from Vladimir Morales. The score broke the ice in the second quarter after Ronnie Mosley recovered a Liberty fumble inside the Panther 10.

It was one of three MHS turnovers in the first half, including a recovered muffed punt by Ryan Kinsey and Jeramiah Burns’ second interception of the season.

“I was super proud of how our kids showed up early,” said Urbantke. “(Liberty’s offense) is very methodical. It is based around three yards and a cloud of dust. They had about a 50-pound advantage on us, their offensive line and our defensive line. I knew that pounding would eventually take a toll on us.”

Liberty would tie the game with a 27-yard field goal of their own with two seconds left in the first half.

Madisonville found the end zone for the first and only time in the final minutes when Juarez hit Devin Wheaton deep over the top and into the end zone.

Sept. 11 marks Madisonville’s homecoming matchup against Teague. The game is scheduled to kickoff at 7:30 p.m.

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