Liberty gives PHS a battle in D-11 loss
It wasn’t a fluke.
With the new District 11 classifications allowing for more teams to make the postseason district tournament, there are going to be teams below the .500 mark that qualify for the playoffs.
Liberty was one of them.
Finishing the regular season at 4-6 overall after a victory over city rival Freedom on the 10th and final week, the Hurricanes earned the eighth seed in the District 11 6A tournament.
It looked as if Liberty (4-7 overall) was about to come away with an upset win in the second consecutive week, but top seed Parkland scored 22 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to come from behind to defeat the Hurricanes 36-23 in the District 11 6A quarterfinal round matchup last Friday night at Parkland School District Stadium.
The Trojans (11-0) trailed for most of the game, and were outplayed for a majority of the contest.
Down 23-14 with 11 minutes left in the game, Parkland senior running back Jahan Worth put the team on his back and rushed for three fourth quarter touchdowns to spark the Trojans comeback.
Worth had a game-high 124 yards rushing and five touchdowns to propel the Parkland offense.
“In the locker room [at halftime] I asked the guys if they wanted this to be their last game,” said Worth. “I honestly wasn’t sure what the outcome was going to be throughout the game, because Liberty was coming strong, they’re a great team. They were ready for us and had a great game plan. They came after us. But I knew I didn’t want this to be my last game.”
Trojans quarterback Michael Ruisch threw for 225 yards and connected with mainly three targets--Tyler Hays (eight receptions, 128 yards), Cole Wetherhold (five catches, 55 yards) and Nick Johnston (four receptions, 41 yards)--giving the Hurricanes secondary fits all night.
Liberty did not back down from the occasion of the bright lights and the five-time defending district champion Trojans.
The Hurricanes went into halftime in front by two, 16-14 behind the legs of running back Nasir Legree (120 yards).
Quarterback Todd Erney (189 yards passing) was successful with both his arms and his legs. When he connected with Jaden Vazquez for a 28-yard touchdown late in the third quarter, Liberty went up by nine points, 23-14 and somewhat shocked the stadium.
But Parkland, like champions do, responded and scored on all three of its possessions in the fourth quarter, and the defense did not allow another first down until the game was already decided.
Liberty will now look toward the 2018 season. Parkland squares off against Easton in the semifinals on Friday night.