The Huffman Hargrave Falcons opened the 2019 Texas high school football season with a vengeance. The Falcons, still smarting from last season’s opening loss to Liberty, posted a resounding 34-7 win over the Panthers on the road. The win improved Huffman Hargrave to 6-4 with its longtime rival from the days of 3A football.
The Falcons wasted little time getting things started. Senior quarterback Justin Shively led a seven-play, 60-yard drive that took just two minutes and 28 seconds, setting the tone for a long night for the Liberty Panthers. Senior running back A.J. San Miguel took it the final 24 yards on a second and 6 play that saw him get to the edge and down the sidelines untouched.
Liberty tried to answer behind the bruising between the tackle running of Terrick Peterson and Jordan Leday. Facing fourth and 2 at the Huffman 15-yard line, the Falcons defense stood up Leday for no gain. It would be the statement stop of the night as Huffman held Liberty to 245 yards of total offense.
“I can’t say enough about the game planning that our defensive staff did to hold them to one late score with game out of reach and no explosive plays,” said Huffman Head Coach Mike McEachern following the game.
In addition to limiting the Liberty attack to less than 250 yards of total offense, the defense racked up 13 tackles for losses and two turnovers that Shively and company turned into points.
The Huffman offense was just as efficient as Shively engineered scoring drives on five of Huffman’s eight opportunities. The third-year starter completed 15 of 25 for three scores. No pass was bigger, though, than the one Shively tossed to Garrett Halbrooks with less than 10 minutes to play in the third quarter. Following an 11-yard sack on second and 8 from the Huffman 42, the Falcons field general found a wide-open Halbrooks over the middle for a back-breaking 37-yard completion. Five plays later, San Miguel punched it home for a 20-0 Falcons lead. The senior running back toted the rock 16 times for 72 yards and two scores.
“I would have liked to have run the ball better,” continued McEachern. “Liberty played good run defense, holding us to under a 100 yards, but we were able to pass for over 300 yards and that was a difference maker.”
With Liberty keying on the Huffman run game, Shively sliced and diced the Panthers’ secondary for 334 yards. It was a good start for a team that had managed just 12 points in the 2018 season opener against Liberty. Led by Halbrook’s three catches for 100 yards, four different Falcons pass catchers racked up 50 or more yards receiving.
Huffman returns home for game two of 2019 to face the Fulshear Chargers. In 2018, the Falcons lost on the road to Fulshear 42-26, a game in which they led 26-21 midway through the third quarter. Kick-off is set for 7 p.m.
“Now we get to work on Fulshear,” concluded the Falcons’ head coach. “We will be working to avenge the loss we got from them last year.”