CARROLLTON –Creekview and Liberty squared off last season in a double-overtime thriller, and Thursday night had the makings of another close affair when the two sides met for a rematch on the gridiron.
But 28 unanswered Creekview points in the second half paved the way for a 42-14 blowout over the Redhawks, as the Mustangs mustered their first win of the season.
“That was a tough first half and they played their hearts out,” said Jay Cline, Creekview head coach. “Our kids came out and executed well in the second half and had a lot of young kids have to step in. I’m so proud of them and very happy with the win.”
The score was knotted up at 14 apiece early in the third quarter and Liberty appeared to have stolen the momentum when senior defensive lineman Ethan Qualls scooped up a fumble by Creekview senior quarterback Brett Esch deep inside Mustang territory.
Just one play later, Liberty junior running back Will Ashmore bolted down the far sideline for a 33-yard scamper to even things up at 14-14.
Ashmore was a bright spot for the Redhawks in the loss, as that run marked his second touchdown of the night after he found the end zone from 42 yards out with 2:02 left in the first half. Along with the two touchdowns, Ashmore led all Liberty rushers with 110 yards on just seven carries.
“After one of [Ashmore’s] runs I said on the headset that I wish we had 10 of those guys,” said Matt Swinnea, Liberty head coach. “He is such a fighter and such a good kid too. He has really risen to the top for us.”
Following Ashmore’s second touchdown run, Cline knew his crew had to respond on its next possession and the Mustangs did just that — assembling a six-play, 81-yard drive capped off by an explosive 45-yard touchdown run by senior running back Isaac Burke to regain the lead for good.
Looking to answer back with another big play on its ensuing drive, Liberty turned the ball over for the second time in the contest when junior quarterback Will Glatch overthrew a pass into the hands of Creekview senior defensive back Cyrus Aaron just two plays into the drive.
Already an excellent field position at the Redhawks’ 29-yard line after the pick, Creekview punched it in the end zone on the very next play on a thunderous touchdown run by senior running back Isai Pena with 6:27 to go in the third.
“We told our kids we had to go answer right back,” Cline said. “Our offense started moving the ball and got some confidence with that. Our defense fed off of that and then we got the turnover to really ignite it.”
Pena displayed quite the performance out of the backfield as one of nine different Creekview players with a rushing attempt.
Senior Edgar Paige impressed with 128 yards, while Burke barreled for 78 yards and a touchdown. However, Pena plowed his way for 93 yards on a game-high 15 carries, as he crossed the goal line a whopping three times in the 28-point victory.
“[Pena] is a great kid and a great player,” Cline said. “He’s one of, if not the, strongest kids on our team. We go as he goes, and he also plays a lot of linebacker for us right now too.”
Creekview will hit the road next week to take on Irving Nimitz in Week Three, while Liberty looks to find the win column for the first time this year when it hosts Sherman.