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Football: Liberty Christian falls to Nolan Catholic

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Rich Luna, For the Denton Record-Chronicle

ARGYLE — The Liberty Christian Warriors losing to Fort Worth Nolan Catholic Friday night may end up being a blessing in the long run.

Despite an ineffective offense in the first half, the Warriors rallied to take a short-lived lead in the second half before Nolan Catholic was able to score 10 straight fourth quarter points, the last three coming after an untimely Liberty Christian fumble, resulting in an 18-14 TAPPS District 1-1 victory for the Vikings.

The outcome significantly changes the playoff picture. Had Liberty Christian (6-4, 4-3) won, the Vikings would have returned to Liberty Christian next week in the first round of the playoffs. Instead, Nolan Catholic (5-5, 4-3) will host Fort Worth All Saints while Liberty Christian will instead travel to Dallas Bishop Dunne.

Liberty Christian now won't have to deal with Nolan Catholic again until later in the playoffs and the opening round would seem to favor the Warriors as they defeated Bishop Dunne last week, 33-26. Bishop Dunne knocked Liberty Christian out of the playoffs last year.

While Liberty Christian has been playing more effectively of late, the Warriors simply had their hands full with Nolan Catholic on Friday. The Vikings built an 8-0 lead at halftime, taking advantage of a bad snap by Liberty Christian for a safety and a big pass play to lead to a touchdown. Liberty Christian was unable to move the ball — the Warriors had only 13 yards of total offense in the first half and no first downs compared with nearly 200 yards of offense for the Vikings.

But the Warriors did make adjustments at halftime and took the opening drive of the second half 73 yards in nine plays, capped by Nate Hayden's 31-yard touchdown pass to Kason Howell, who had slipped behind the secondary, to get the Warriors within one, 8-7.

Hayden and Howell connected again early in the fourth quarter. Howell again was able get behind the secondary and caught a 73-yard scoring pass to give the Warriors a 14-8 lead with 9:54 left in the fourth quarter.

Nolan Catholic would regain the lead on the ensuing drive, aided by a pass interference penalty, with Sam Hicks turning a reception from Luke Macias into a 24-yard touchdown, and the Vikings were up 15-14.

The Warriors regained possession with 3:44 left at their own 45, but two plays into the drive Hayden threw a lateral pass that was recovered by Nolan Catholic's Coleman Meadows. That would lead to a 27-yard field goal by William Mann with 22 seconds left.

Down by four and with no time outs, the Warriors were unable to get downfield.

The Warriors did have a chance to strike early in the first quarter after Griffin Carrington returned a Macias fumble to the Nolan Catholic 19. But Cameron Baller missed a 24-yard field goal.

Early in the second quarter, Liberty Christian faced first and 14 from its own 3-yard line when the ball was snapped out the end zone for the Nolan Catholic safety.

On the Vikings ensuing possession, Macias completed a 27-yard pass to Rory Mitchell to move the ball to the Liberty Christian 15. They faced fourth-and-three at the 8-yard line, and were denied when Liberty Christian defender Kade Johnson broke up a Macias pass intended for Hicks.

The Vikings nearly scored again but had a 42-yard TD pass to Hicks from Macias called back because of a penalty. But they got on the board late in the second quarter after taking over at midfield following a Warriors punt.

Macias connected on a 30-yard pass play. Trae King and Chance Cover powered in from the 1-yard line on a fourth-and-goal to cap a 10-play drive that gave the Vikings an 8-0 lead with 2:05 left in the first half.

Fort Worth Nolan 18, Liberty Christian 14

Fort Worth Nolan 0 8 0 10 -- 18
Liberty Christian 0 0 7 7 -- 14


NH -- 0 safety, ball fumbled out of end zone

NH -- Chance Cover 1 run (run failed)

LB -- Kason Howell 31 pass from Nate Hayden (Cameron Baller kick)

LB -- Kason Howell 73 pass from Nate Hayden (Cameron Baller kick)

NH -- Sam Hicks 27 pass from Luke Macias (William Mann kick)

NH -- William Mann 27 FG

 Team Stats NH LB
First Downs 17 6
Rushing Yards 30-103 20-31
Passing Yards 251 146
Passing 24-40-0 11-21-0
Punts-Avg 7-29.43 7-36.71
Penalties 8-85 5-49
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 1-1


Rushing -- LB: Andre Washington 13-43, Kason Howell 1-0, Kade Johnson 1-0, Garrett Moran 2--3, Nate Hayden 3--9, NH: Rory Mitchell 14-75, Luke Macias 8-9, Chris Sedillo 3-7, Sam Hicks 1-7, Brandon Reed 1-4, Chance Cover 1-1, Jack Waller 2-0.

Passing -- LB: Nate Hayden 10-19-0-139, Garrett Moran 1-2-0-7, NH: Luke Macias 24-40-0-251.

Receiving -- LB: Kason Howell 2-104, Jackson Jobe 1-16, Garrett Moran 3-8, Collin Gamble 1-7, Andre Washington 3-7, Ty Baran 1-4, NH: Trae King 8-86, Sam Hicks 6-77, Rory Mitchell 1-27, Matthew Sedillo 3-22, Chris Sedillo 4-17, Jacob Hernandez 1-16, Danny Taylor 1-6.