ARGYLE — Fort Worth Nolan Catholic and Argyle Liberty Christian entered their TAPPS Division 1-1 battle Friday night each averaging more than 30 points a game. So it makes perfect sense that the contest would end up a defensive battle, right?
Nope. Instead of offensive fireworks, Nolan Catholic and Liberty Christian battled tough in the trenches and a couple of big plays made the difference as the visiting Vikings shut out Liberty Christian 21-0.
The Vikings, defending state champions and winners of three of the last four state titles, won their seventh straight game to improve to 7-2 overall and 5-0 in district with one game left in the regular season.
Liberty Christian (5-4, 2-3), which entered the game averaging 35.7 points a game, missed a field-goal try in the first half and crossed midfield only once in the second half against a tough Nolan defense. The Warriors finished with only 162 total yards and nine first downs.
Despite the loss, the Warriors will still make the playoffs. Their opponent will not be known until after next week’s regular-season finale against Dallas Bishop Lynch.
Liberty Christian’s defense also played well, despite allowing 406 yards offense to a Vikings team that had been averaging 31 points a game. But the Warriors couldn’t contain running back Cameron Elias, who rushed for 143 yards on 20 carries. Elias scored on a 2-yard run in the first half and then broke a 64-yard scoring run in the third quarter. Joseph Prud’homme added a 20-yard TD run for the Vikings.
Elias was involved on both ends of the most bizarre play in the game. The Vikings were threatening to score early in the third quarter when Elias fumbled a pitch at the Warriors’ 3. Several Warriors tried to scoop up the ball, which kept rolling downfield. Elias ended up recovering at the 38 for a 35-yard loss.
The Vikings took a 7-0 lead late in the first half. After holding Liberty Christian on downs deep in its own territory, Jonathon Faltynski returned the Liberty Christian punt 19 yards to the Warriors’ 41. Elias gained 15 yards on a draw play, and on the ensuing play, Prud’homme threw deep to Pierce Braden. A pass interference penalty against Mitchell Rowsell moved the ball to the 11.
Patrick Rich picked up 5 yards on pass play, and Prud’homme ran up the middle for 4 more. On third-and-2, Elias sliced through the right side for the touchdown with 31 seconds left before halftime.
Both teams missed field-goal attempts in the first half. McCaleb Taylor’s 27-yard attempt for the Vikings late in the first quarter was wide; Mikael Sroka’s 24-yard attempt for the Warriors midway through the second quarter was blocked.
The Vikings were hurt by first-half penalties — six for 55 yards. One of the penalties, a hold, came on what would have been a 34-yard scoring run by Luke Alves.
The Vikings increased their lead to 14-0 late in the third quarter after Faltynski intercepted a Foster Ford pass. Three plays later, Elias broke through on a 64-yard scoring run.
Prud’homme added his 20-yard TD run with 5:56 left in the game. The Warriors then moved from their 13 to the Vikings’ 46, crossing midfield for the first time in the half. But the drive ended with three straight incomplete passes.
Camron Cornett rushed for 77 yards on 12 carries for the Warriors, while Ford competed 6 of 16 passes for 90 yards and one interception.
Fort Worth Nolan Catholic 21, Liberty Christian 0
N — Cameron Elias 2 run (McCaleb Taylor kick), :31
N — Cameron Elias 64 run (McCaleb Taylor kick), :37
N — Joseph Prud’homme 20 run (McCaleb Taylor kick), 5:56
Rushing — NC: Cameron Elias 20-143, Joseph Prud’homme 11-79, Luke Aves 13-78, Adam Hoch 3-16. LC:Camron Cornett 12-77, Jon Aaron Howell5-23, Foster Ford4-15, Benn Hawkins 1-0, Zach Keller 1- -1.
Passing — N: Joseph Prud’homme6-14-0 90. LC: Foster Ford 6-16-1 48.
Receiving — N: David Authier 2-48, Patrick Rich 3-29, Pierce Braden 1-13. LC: Jon Aaron Howell2-26, Hunter Griffith 2-12, Graham Richardson 2-1.