BRISTOL — Liberty County Coach Grant Grantham said he didn’t know what kind of team he would have this season. After Friday’s win over Wewahitchka, the answer so far is a good one.
The Bulldogs won their third straight behind six rushing touchdowns en route to a 46-8 rout of the Gators. Wewahitchka dipped to 0-3 after the non-district clash of Class 1A foes.
Liberty County raced out to an 18-0 lead after one quarter in another display of quick offense. It scored 40 points in the opening stanza last week against Holmes County. The Bulldogs (3-0) and their no-huddle rushing attack led 39-0 at the half.
“I thought at the beginning of the season we had a chance to be pretty decent on offense,” said Grantham, the longtime Liberty County coach. “We have a lot of good kids that can run the ball, probably more than last year.”
J.J. House led the group of rushers with 109 yards. William Hayes added 101 and two touchdowns, Jordan Chaney 57 and a score, Dee Fitzgerald 54 and a TD and Ben Beckwith 52 on three carries.
Grantham was most impressed on defense. The Bulldogs held the Gators scoreless until a 26-yard scoring pass from Rashard Ranie to Isaac Madrid with 20 seconds to play. It was the first defensive score allowed by Liberty County this season.
“We’re playing much better on defense than I thought we’d be,” Grantham said. “I’m pleased with how well we’re playing there.”
Wewahitchka had a chance to change the early momentum on its fourth drive, which chewed up 69 yards on five plays and set up third-and-goal from the 1. The Bulldogs stiffened and forced a turnover on downs on two rushes for minus-4 yards in preserving the three-score lead. Wewahitchka left deflated after minus-3 yards on its first three drives that ended in two punts and a high snap on the third.
“Maybe it would have changed some things for us,” Wewahitchka coach Dennis Kizziah said.
Hayes gave Liberty County a jolt with an 80-yard scoring run two plays later. He also opened the scoring with the final 5 of a 61-yard drive. Hayes had touchdowns on the only two times he carried the ball in the first half.
Liberty County rushed for 311 yards in the first 24 minutes. Micah McCaskill added 80 yards passing and a TD to A.J Palmberg in the first half. Wewahitchka gained a meager 119 yards in response.
The second half was played with the running clock due to the 35-point mercy rule. Liberty County played what backups it had on their small bench. Wewahitchka played out the stretch and savored the chance to get on the bus and depart with another frustrating loss.
Ranie led Wewahitchka with 139 yards passing and another 32 on the ground.
Madrid hauled in six receptions for 76 yards, including 44 on the drive that stalled inside the 5.
“Liberty County is a good team,” Kizziah said. “But I thought we had some kids who played hard, Ranie played well. We just need to heal up and get better.
Wewahitchka is at Graceville next week in a District 2-1A game.