ARGYLE — Greg Price wasted no time getting his Liberty Christian Warriors ready for next week’s TAPPS Division I state quarterfinal matchup with Austin St. Michael’s.
That came minutes after the Warriors easily dispatched San Antonio Central Catholic 52-6 in a first-round playoff game. Price gathered his players, praised their effort and then pulled a sheet of paper out of his play-call folder. It read, “Beat St. Michael’s.”
The Warriors (7-4) appear ready to face Austin St. Michael’s in the playoffs for the third time in four years.
“They’ve beaten us two straight meetings in the playoffs,” Price said of the Warriors’ losses in 2010 and 2011. “We’re tired of losing.”
This weekend’s game with Austin St. Michael’s will be played somewhere in Central Texas at a neutral site. Austin St. Michael’s beat one of Liberty’s district rivals, Plano Pope John Paul II, 45-38 on Saturday.
Pope John Paul went into that game with a season record of 1-9. When Price heard the score of that game, he called it “encouraging,” but went on to say that Pope John Paul was better than its record indicated and that the Warriors’ games with Austin St. Michael’s were always tough affairs.
Price was also encouraged with his Warriors’ effort against the Buttons (4-7). A highly efficient outing, the Warriors scored 35 first-half points, finding the end zone on their first five possessions with 21 of those points coming off turnovers. The defense forced five turnovers in the game and held SACC to 261 total yards.
“Three interceptions and a pick six really allowed us to take control of the game and let us take some chances as the game went on,” Price said. “I was real happy with our effort on both sides of the ball.”
Drew Hunnicutt lit the match on the blowout with the Warriors already up 7-0 in the first quarter. Hunnicutt stepped in front of a pass thrown by quarterback Joseph Nava at the Warriors’ 30. Armed with several teammates as blockers, Hunnicutt sprinted up the Liberty sideline for a 70-yard touchdown return with 2:17 left in the first quarter to give the Warriors a 14-0 lead.
Hunnicutt finished with two interceptions, and the second one also set up a Warriors touchdown.
Liberty quarterback Colby Moore was 19-of-22 passing for 315 yards and a touchdown, along with an interception. One of his incompletions was nearly caught and another was the interception. Meanwhile, Moore rushed for 40 yards and scored two touchdowns.
JonAaron Howell added 49 yards and a touchdown to lead all Liberty rushers.
The one bright spot for SACC was the tough running of Drake Bergeron, who gained 94 yards on 19 carries and scored the Buttons’ only touchdown, an 11-yarder in the second quarter.
Liberty Christian 52, San Antonio Central Catholic 6
Liberty Christian 14 21 7 10 — 52
SA Central Catholic 0 6 0 0 — 6
L — Colby Moore 3 run (Cole Austin kick)
L — Drew Hunnicutt 70 interception return (Cole Austin kick)
L — JonAaron Howell 3 run (Cole Austin kick)
S — Drake Bergeron 11 run (kick failed)
L — Colby Moore 3 run (Cole Austin kick)
L — Jordan Brown 53 pass from Colby Moore (Cole Austin kick)
L — Matt Marrs 7 run (Cole Austin kick)
L — Zach Keller 1 run (Cole Austin kick)
L — Cole Austin 25 FG
First Downs 24 16
Rushing Yards 24-116 34-183
Passing Yards 334 78
Passing 21-25-1 10-20-3
Punts-Avg 1-31.00 2-29.50
Penalties 6-41 3-15
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 2-2
Rushing — Liberty: JonAaron Howell 10-49, Colby Moore 7-40, Jalen Hurt 1-11, Matt Marrs 1-7, Ryan Vollenhals 3-6, Nick Starkel 1-2, Zach Keller 1-1; SACC: Drake Bergeron 19-94, Joseph Nava 9-61, Jimin Suh 2-27, Jacob Rodriguez 3-6, Ray Cortez 1-5.
Passing — Liberty: Colby Moore 19-22-1-315, Nick Starkel 1-2-0-12, Drew Hunnicutt 1-1-0-7; SACC: Joseph Nava 10-18-3-78, Josh Godfrey 0-2-0-0.
Receiving — Liberty: Jordan Brown 3-79, JonAaron Howell 4-54, Drew Hunnicutt 2-41, Gavin Menichini 2-35, Hunter Griffith 2-29, Danny David Linahan 2-26, Jalen Hurt 2-25, Cody Hughes 2-19, Matt Marrs 1-14, Austin Horton 1-12; SACC: Michael Gonzales 5-43, Ray Cortez 3-28, Joe Aldrete 1-10, William Barr 1-3.