Crescent rolls to victory over Liberty

By Jimmy Kirby
Courier Sports

IVA — The Liberty Red Devils had high hopes of completing their non-region schedule with only one loss heading to Abbeville for their first region game, but Deontae Hull and the Crescent Tigers had other thoughts in handing the Red Devils a 37-14 setback on Friday.

10-12 Page 1B.inddInstead of Liberty improving to 6-1, it was the Tigers who improved their record to 6-1 behind the ground attack of Hull at quarterback and running back Kenny White.

Liberty got off to a great start with a seven-play, 77-yard drive that was efficient and took time off the clock. The drive took 2:51 off the game clock to start the opening quarter. Kevon Tabron took a nice 35-yard pass from Austin Huey on an out pattern around the 5-yard line and scored to open up an early 7-0 lead.

Things went downhill from there, as Hull and company wasted no time in knotting up the score at 7-7. Hull read the Liberty defense perfectly and kept the ball on the read and raced 74 yards down the right sideline untouched.

The Red Devils then imploded on offense, with consecutive fumbles that led directly to Crescent touchdowns. Liberty fumbled at its own 25-yard line and its own 35-yard line to set up Crescent scores.

10-12 Page 1B.inddThe Tigers capitalized on the Liberty miscues as White scored on a four-yard run and Hull added a 12-yard scoring run to extend the lead to 21-7 by the end of the first quarter.

Doug Tate/Photo
Liberty’s Austin Huey tries to stiff-arm a Crescent defender during their game Friday night in Iva.

The job for the Red Devil defense was easy — stop Hull and find success. But the Liberty defense found no way to stop Hull — or White for that matter — as the senior quarterback was a master at running the zone read. Hull was the big leader in rushing for the game, as he carried the ball 12 times for 177 yards and three touchdowns. He averaged 14.5 yards per carry for the game and had an answer every time the Tigers touched the ball.

10-12 Page 1B.inddWhite was the workhorse, gaining 81 yards on 18 carries and scoring twice. Outside of Hull and White, the Tigers had a total of negative-2 yards rushing from the rest of the team and 10 yards net passing in the game.

The Tigers extended their lead to 31-7 by the end of the first half on a 46-yard White touchdown run and a 28-yard Carter Gates field goal.

The Tigers added another touchdown midway through the third quarter as Hull this time scampered for 57 yards and extended the lead to the largest of the game at 37-7, making it 37 unanswered points for the Crescent offense.

The final score of the game came on a 13-play, 98-yard Liberty drive that consumed 5:11 off the game clock. Clay Lollis busted up the middle for 27 yards to make the final score 37-14.

The final stats were not indicative of the score, as Crescent held a slim margin in total yards, 266-245. The game never felt close after the first two turnovers with Hull at the helm for the Tigers. The Red Devils could never figure out a way to stop Hull.

Lollis led the way rushing for the Red Devils with 65 yards on 11 tough carries. Tabron had 52 yards rushing on eight carries. Nick Reeves added 21 yards on the ground.

10-12 Page 1B.inddThe Red Devils now enter their short three-game region schedule, starting with a road trip to Abbeville to take on the high-powered Panthers who are 6-0-1. Abbeville’s tie came as the result of a 7-7 tie at Lincoln County, Ga.

Doug Tate/Photo
Liberty’s Michael Spruill jumps for a pass in front of Crescent’s Kenny White during their game Friday night.

The Red Devils will need to be on their game this week both offensively and defensively. The Panthers own shutouts over Woodruff, 28-0, and Emerald, 34-0. It should be an interesting week of preparation if they Red Devils want to finish the season on a positive note.

Following the road trip to Abbeville, the Red Devils will return home to face Ninety Six High School and then close out the regular season against Southside Christian.