Warrior Football Wins Season Opener Over Pilot Point, 31-8

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ARGYLE — When Pilot Point and Liberty Christian ran out onto the field on a sweltering Friday night, the starting quarterbacks of both were far from the front of the line of their respective teams.

Pilot Point quarterback Aaron Buckingham was second-to-last in a flood of Bearcats who took the sideline. Liberty quarterback Josh Cousins was in the middle of the pack of Warriors as both teams geared up for the first game of the season.

When the two teams went out to exchange greetings, Cousins darted back to the sideline as all the other players from both teams remained on the field, as Cousins threw warm-up passes to Nathan Nicholson.

On the field however, both quarterbacks led their squads in long and strenuous game.

When the final whistle blew, it was Cousins who had led his team to a season-opening victory. Liberty scored 31 unanswered points on its way to a 31-8 victory over Pilot Point.

“I was proud of the way the defense kept coming,” Liberty head coach Greg Price said. “The turnovers were huge. If you take away those turnovers, this is a different ball game.”

Liberty’s Graham Richardson had two interceptions in the contest. The Warriors forced Pilot Point into committing four turnovers.

In his debut at quarterback, Aaron Buckingham struggled, going 9-of-21 for 75 yards and two interceptions. Head coach Rob Best also made his debut for the Bearcats.

With less than seven minutes to go in the second quarter, Buckingham experienced a cramp, Best said. Best momentarily took out Buckingham, replacing him with Cody Stom.

On the ensuing play, Stom was picked off by Richardson, changing the momentum for the rest of the game. Buckingham would return, but Pilot Point was never able to regain the lead.

“I was a little overaggressive, and I put [Stom] in a position he probably didn’t need to be in,” Best said. “That was kind of unfortunate. That was kind of the swing. When the returned the interception… you could see the air go out of us.”

A 95-yard run by Cameron Cornett with 6:18 remaining in the game iced the victory for the Warriors, capping the large run. Quarterback Josh Cousins anchored Liberty (1-0), going 8-of-21 with 80 yards and two touchdowns.

Pilot Point scored the game’s first points when running back Beau Ewton pounded his way into the end zone on a 1-yard run with 4:08 remaining in the first quarter. After a successful two-point conversion, the Bearcats took an 8-0 lead heading into the second quarter.

At the outset, Liberty’s offense was unable to find any success against Pilot Point’s defense. Liberty did not pick up its initial first down of the contest until 53 seconds remained in the first quarter.

On 4th-and-4, Cousins found Jesse Ward, who scampered for a 22-yard touchdown reception on the first play of the second quarter. After the Warriors went ahead 10-8 on a 28-yard field goal by Mikael Sroka, Liberty forced a fumble on the ensuing kickoff and recovered on the Pilot Point 10-yard line.

Liberty’s offense continued to keep chugging along, while Pilot Point’s offense fell off the tracks. The Bearcats did not score for the remainder of the game. Pilot Point committed 10 penalties for 90 yards.

Liberty Christian 31, Pilot Point 8

Pilot Point 8 0 0 0 — 8

Liberty Christian 0 10 7 14 — 31

SCORING SUMMARY

PP — Beau Ewton 1 run (Aaron Buckingham pass from Beau Ewton)

LC — Mikeal Sroka FG

LC — Jesse Ward 22 pass from Josh Cousins (Mikeal Sroka kick)

LC — Miles Smith 2 run (Mikeal Sroka kick)

LC — Camron Cornett 95 run (Mikeal Sroka kick)

LC — Daniel Loch 6 pass from Josh Cousins (Mikeal Sroka kick)

Team Stats

PP LC

First Downs 14 8

Rushing Yards 37-125 23-195

Passing Yards 75 101

Passing 9-23-3 9-22-0

Punts-Avg 7-30.2857 6-38

Penalties 10-90 9-53

Fumbles-Lost 3-1 1-1

INDIVIDUAL LEADERS

Rushing — LC: Camron Cornett 3-103, Miles Smith 10-55, Aaron Deaver 3-18, Josh Cousins 3-13, Matt Marrs 1-6, Mitchell Rowsell 2-1, Stat Team 1—1, PP: Aaron Buckingham 20-67, Ryan Hagenbucher 4-26, Beau Ewton 8-21, Jason Juarez 2-18, Tristen Jurecka 1-1, Cody Stom 1-0, Stat Team 1—8.

Passing — LC: Josh Cousins 8-21-0-80, Foster Ford 1-1-0-21, PP: Aaron Buckingham 9-21-2-75, Cody Stom 0-2-1-0.

Receiving — LC: Kyle Metzger 2-28, Jesse Ward 2-27, Daniel Loch 4-25, Jacob Springer 1-21, PP: Mason Richey 5-61, Spencer Tilley 1-8, Austin Trinklein 2-4, Jason Juarez 1-2.

Thank you to the Denton Record-Chronicle for this story.

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