District starts with defending IV-4A champs

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BILLIES FOOTBALL

Fredericksburg High School varsity football hopes momentum from beating Boerne will carry over into the start of district.

The Billies will need any help they can get since their District 14-4A DI opener might be the toughest test this season.

FHS travels to face the Liberty Hill Panthers at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11, at Panther Stadium.

“They matter now,” head coach Lance Moffett said. “Certainly, we want to win them all now. Our goal is to win district and make the playoffs. If we beat Liberty Hill Friday night, we’ll make a big step toward that end.”

FHS beat Boerne in double overtime, 38-31, on Friday, Sept. 27, before heading into an offweek.

That win left the Billies with a better taste in their mouths after losing three straight contests heading into that game.

“To play a 4-0 undefeated team that’s pretty good and you haven’t beaten (in a while) … I think it’s a huge plus. I don’t think we’ve played our best football yet,” Moffett said. “I think we took a step toward it versus Boerne, but if you go back and really analyze the film, if we hit on all cylinders and catch every ball that’s thrown and throw every ball on time, make a few more plays on defense and don’t rough the punter, then we win by two touchdowns.”

The team’s mentality won’t change with the start of what is essentially football’s second season when it comes to district play.

“I think we’ve always had a sense of urgency,” Moffett said. “I don’t think our mindset has changed in regard to how we prepare and how we do what we do. We’re relieved that we get to start over. We finished 2-3 in non-district and I’m not happy about that, but we have to let that go and take the positive from non-district. We have to win today.”

This road test comes against the defending 4A state finalists that destroyed everything in sight on the way to 13 wins and a trip to the 4ADI state championship game in Arlington last season.

Moffett expects another strenuous game against one of Texas’ premier programs.

“They certainly are as advertised,” Moffett said. “They’re defending state finalists, ranked in the top of our region. They’ve lost two games this year but they’ve only played four. That’s what happens when you’re like they are. No one wants to play you.”

The Panthers won last year’s match-up against FHS, 69-7, and finished the 14-4A DI slate with a scoring margin of 310-72.

Liberty Hill graduated several players, including star running back Kyle Harrison who rushed for 2,872 yards and 45 touchdowns to finish as 4A’s second-best rusher in terms of total yards.

Liberty Hill returns senior DT and current UTSA commit Walker Baty, a three-star recruit who measures out at 6-3.5 and 256 pounds.

Moffett says he’s the best defensive lineman FHS will face this season.

“He’s a man among boys on the defensive front,” Moffett said. “He’s a Division I recruit.”

Baty, who has six tackles for loss and two sacks, anchors an odd-man front that brings three defensive linemen and four linebackers to the table every play.

FHS’ offensive front of Jack Gallagher, Travis Cates, Austin Sheppard, Landon West, Kolby Wright, Derek Whitworth and Rusty Price give the team a chance to win the battle at the line of scrimmage.

The Panthers run a Slot-T offense that dominates up front.

Junior running back Blake Simpson leads the skill players with 535 rushing yards through four games.

Fellow junior Trey Seward has 532 rushing yards and seven TDs.

Billies notes

Game info: Fredericksburg High School Battlin’ Billies at Liberty Hill Panthers, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Panther Stadium.

Series history: Lone Star Football Network gives Liberty Hill a 5-0 edge in the two teams’ all-time series. The Panthers won last season’s meeting, 69-7.

Liberty Hill at a glance: The Panthers last played a game against Pflugerville Connally during Week 4 of the season. Liberty Hill’s two losses came back-toback against Hutto (42-14) and Manor (33-28), the first time the program’s dropped two straight games since the 2012 season.

Liberty Hill players to watch: Senior DT Walker Baty is a DI recruit who committed to UTSA … junior Blake Simpson broke out during last year’s game against FHS and is the feature back, if Liberty Hill has one, this season … Liberty Hill also boasts a DI recruit in Hawaii commit Matthew Shipley, who’s listed as a two-star punting recruit.

Offensive player of the week: Sophomore Judson Beard had a breakout performance against Boerne by catching five passes for 131 yards and a touchdown.

Defensive player of the week: Seniors Hunter Metzger and Christian Avilez shared honors as FHS’ top defenders. Metzger made 11 tackles, including two for a loss, against the Greyhounds two weeks ago. Avilez caused problems up front by recording three tackles for a loss, three sacks and a forced fumble.

Special teams player of the week: Junior Rob Zuberbueler’s 76-yard punt during the fourth quarter helped flip the field in FHS’ favor against Boerne. Overall, he had five punts travel 180 yards and land inside the 20-yard line three times.

JV Red player of the week: Logan Metzger

JV White player of the week: Logan Love

Freshman player of the week: David Suarez

FHS season leaders

Passing: Tucker Elliott 82-172-1110-5 12 TD.

Rushing: Tucker Elliott 80-286 3 TD; Jarrett Beard 42-231 2 TD; Dylan Ahrens 39-197 2 TD.

Receiving: Jarrett Beard 27-503 8 TD; Judson Beard 14-203 2 TD; Josh Wienecke 11-141 TD; Trent Kozielski 9-86; Dylan Ahrens 8-75 TD.

Tackles: Hunter Metzger 36, Jarrett Beard 19, Brant Sasko 15, Javier Rodriguez 13, Davis Reeh 12, Dylan Ahrens 12, Christian Avilez 11.

Tackles for loss: Hunter Metzger 4, Luke Duderstadt 3, Christian Avilez 3, Jack Gallagher 3.

Sacks: Davis Reeh 5, Christian Avilez 5, Hunter Metzger 1, Luke Duderstadt 1, Jack Gallagher 1, Zachary Wubbolding 1.

QB hurries: Davis Reeh 11, Luke Duderstadt 10, Jack Gallagher 5, Hunter Metzger 4, Brant Sasko 3.

Interceptions: Jarrett Beard 1, Javier Rodriguez 1.

Passes defensed: Judson Beard 9, Jarrett Beard 5, Gavin French 4, Hunter Metzger 2, Rob Zuberbueler 2, Javier Rodriguez 2.

Forced fumbles: Gavin French 1, Hunter Metzger 1, Javier Rodriguez 1, Luke Duderstadt 1, Christian Avilez 1.

Total points: Jarrett Beard 60, Aaron Cordero-Rojas 23, Tucker Elliott 20, Judson Beard 18, Dylan Ahrens 18, Hunter Metzger 6, Joshua Wienecke 6.

District 14-4A DI standings

Canyon Lake ........................ 4-1

Lampasas ............................. 4-1

Burnet .................................. 4-1

Liberty Hill ........................... 2-2

FHS .................................... 1-3

Taylor .................................... 0-5

District 14-4A DI schedule

Friday, Oct. 11

FHS at Liberty Hill, 7:30 p.m.

Burnet at Lampasas, 7:30 p.m.

Canyon Lake at Taylor, 7:30 p.m.