SANGER — Cole Austin booted a 23-yard field goal with 14 seconds left to lift Liberty Christian to a second-straight come-from-behind victory, this time 38-35 over Sanger.
The Warriors (2-0) scored 27 second-half points to erase what was a 21-7 Sanger lead at halftime. Just last week, Liberty Christian drove 68 yards in 23 seconds to beat Springtown by three points in the final minute.
“Back-to-back weeks to win by three; from a win and proving to ourselves we have the resiliency to fight until the end and trust in ourselves … we can learn a lot from that,” Liberty Christian coach Greg Price said. “Hopefully, should we need that going into the district race, we’ll have confidence to work with.”
The Warriors would not have made their comeback without the play of quarterback Colby Moore. Moore, who missed the season opener with an injury, overcame three interceptions in the first half to finish 14-of-27 for 170 yards and two scores. He also rushed for 164 yards and one score on 16 carries.
JonAaron Howell rushed for 134 yards and scored on a 54-yard pass from Moore with 7:35 left in regulation to tie the game at 35.
The Indians — winless last season — drop to 0-2 with the loss. Their last win was on Oct. 28, 2011.
It looked like Sanger was going to end that skid, though, as quarterback Brandon Mann opened the third quarter with a 72-yard touchdown pass to Wyatt Broxson. The score gave them a seemingly insurmountable 21-point lead as their offense continued to churn out yards.
Mann completed 9 of 13 passes for 182 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 127 of the team’s 289 yards on the ground. Tre’von Jackson rushed for 109 yards and one score.
But the Liberty Christian defense stiffened midway through the fourth quarter. After narrowing the gap to seven points with 10:15 left to play, the Warriors forced Sanger to punt twice in the final 9:15. The first led to Moore’s deep touchdown pass to Howell. After the second punt, Moore engineered a 12-play drive to the Sanger 6-yard line, setting up Austin’s field goal.
“I thought we were moving the ball well in the first half, but I made a couple of bone-headed calls to put our quarterback in a bad spot with the three interceptions,” Price said. “We decided at half we were going to run the ball, and our fastest players are our quarterback and running back. That’s what we did.”
Liberty Christian 38, Sanger 35
SN — Tre’von Jackson 51 run (Dakota Branch kick)
LC — JonAaron Howell 14 pass from Colby Moore (Cole Austin kick)
SN — Kyle Link 14 pass from Brandon Mann (Dakota Branch kick)
SN — Wyatt Broxson 36 pass from Brandon Mann (Dakota Branch kick)
SN — Wyatt Broxson 72 pass from Brandon Mann (Dakota Branch kick)
LC — JonAaron Howell 6 run (Cole Austin kick)
SN — Brandon Mann 13 run (Dakota Branch kick)
LC — Colby Moore 43 run (Cole Austin kick)
LC — JonAaron Howell 18 run (Cole Austin kick)
LC — JonAaron Howell 54 pass from Colby Moore (Cole Austin kick)
LC — Cole Austin 23 FG
Rushing — LB: Colby Moore 16-164, JonAaron Howell 20-134, Ryan Vollenhals 5-50, Cole Austin 1-9, Matt Marrs 1-7, Dakota Sanchez 1-7, Kyleb Howell 1-3, SN: Brandon Mann 17-127, Tre’von Jackson 13-109, Turner Barnes 5-46, TURNER BARNES 1-7.
Passing — LB: Colby Moore 14-27-3-170, SN: Brandon Mann 9-13-0-182.
Receiving — LB: JonAaron Howell 4-81, Hunter Griffith 4-46, Cody Hughes 2-19, Gavin Menichini 2-9, Justus Lee 1-9, Jordan Brown 1-6, SN: Wyatt Broxson 4-125, Tre’von Jackson 4-43, Kyle Link 1-14.