Sunday, November 19, 2006

Liberty-Eylau beats Gilmer at own game

High School Football Playoffs: Liberty-Eylau beats Gilmer at own game

By LOUIE AVERY
Texarkana Gazette


LONGVIEW, Texas—Liberty-Eylau coach Pat Brady had a change of heart last Sunday while he considered his gameplan for 3A’s top-ranked Gilmer Buckeyes.

“It seemed like everyone was saying you can’t get into a scoring fest with Gilmer,” Brady said a day after watching his Leopards shock the previously unbeaten Buckeyes, 39-36. “I decided early last Sunday that we had to pull out everything we have on offense and score as often as they scored.”

The strategy worked well early in the game with both teams scoring on their first two possessions, but the game turned L-E’s way with two Gilmer turnovers in the third quarter. The Leopards scored 26 unanswered points to build a 39-22 lead, and then survived a furious rally by the Buckeyes in the final six minutes of the game.

“Gilmer didn’t lose this game, we won it,” Brady said. “I think it all started with the schemes planned by the coaching staff, and the players executing those schemes. That’s why we won this game.”

It was evident from start to finish how much L-E respected Gilmer’s big-play potential. The Buckeyes still made big plays, but the Leopards’ defense rose to the occasion more than once, forcing Gilmer to punt three times.

Gilmer senior Curtis Brown was involved in all 36 of the Buckeyes’ points. He raced 88 yards on four carries, and gained another 81 on five pass receptions. Senior quarterback G.J. Kinne also demonstrated his special skills, completing 15 of 25 passes for 239 yards and 4 TDs. He finished the year with 47 touchdown passes and 3,181 yards, and he only threw one interception.

“Gilmer is a very athletic football team. I saw Kinne out there playing safety,” Brady said. “Brown is one of the best athletes I’ve ever seen on a field. He has more impact on their team than anyone wants to give credit.”

But so much for Gilmer, because the Leopards had all the answers needed.

Junior tailback LaMichael James enjoyed his best schoolboy game according to Brady. He rushed for 142 yards and 3 TDs, while catching five passes for 58 yards and another touchdown. He also saw considerable action on defense.

“That was the LaMichael I’ve expected to see all year,” Brady said. “He hasn’t had that type of game all year.”



“That was the LaMichael I’ve expected to see all year,” Brady said. “He hasn’t had that type of game all year.”

Senior Will Middlebrooks was also a major contributor with two rushing touchdowns, while completing 11 of 14 passes for 170 yards and a TD. He also saw considerable duty on defense, and was credited with one of the game’s biggest hits.

The list of L-E stars only begins there.

“I thought the turnovers were the turning point in the game, but our special teams played a huge role in this game,” Brady said. “Our offensive line has stepped it up the last three weeks, and I can’t emphasize what important role James Batts is playing at fullback.

Gilmer running back Justin Johnson came into the game with more than 1,000 yards and was averaging over 11 yards per carry. He had 15 yards on seven carries against L-E.

“Devin Bruce is an impact player for us on defense. Our defense really played well. You had to be there. We knew going in that they were going to score some points.”

Brady said he never worried about a letdown after losing the District 16-3A title game to Atlanta.

“We played well in that game and lost,” he said. “You’ve got to understand from Day 1 we talk all the time about “Season 3” (playoffs) being the most important thing. It’s why Atlanta is still in the playoffs.”

Now the shoe is on the other foot. L-E will be the favorite next week when its plays Tyler Chapel Hill. That game was tentatively set for Hallsville Friday night, but could change depending on the outcome of Hallsville’s playoff game Saturday afternoon.

“You’re talking about Friday night high school football in Texas where anything can happen,” Brady said.

Proof of that was on the scoreboard Friday night at Longview High School’s Lobo Stadium.

Tickets for the Leopards’ next playoff game go on sale Monday from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the LEISD Administrative Offices on Leopard Drive. Tickets are $6 for adults and $4 for students. All tickets will be $7 at the gate.

1 comment:

buckeye_fan said...

hey yo, how bout them buckeyes