ATLANTA, Texas — One thing is for sure, when Bowie County residents and Cass County residents face-off, it'll always be great contest.
Liberty-Eylau (0-4) fell to No. 7 Atlanta (2-2) at Rabbit Stadium Friday night in a non-district clash of familiar foes, 41-38.
"Our kids really fought hard," Liberty-Eylau head coach Klint King said. "When the tide turned against in the second half, we could've folded up the tent. What you continue to see from these guys is their fight. It shows how much they care and love this game. We can always work with that. We will continue to improve. We made some key mistakes in some key moments tonight and that's on me. I'll take the blame for it. We're going to continue to work from here."
Daniel Hernandez booted a 35-yard field goal as time expired to give the Rabbs the win over the Leopards.
L-E erased a 38-19 deficit heading into the fourth quarter before Hernandez's field goal.
Shannon Roy tied the game for the Leopards on his 1-yard dive with 0:38.
Malik Watson snatched his second touchdown of the second half from Roy on a 49-yard bomb, cutting the Rabbs's lead to one possession, 38-32, with 2:58 left in the fourth quarter.
Damian Henderson opened up the fourth quarter with a 8-yard dash to the pylon for a Leopard touchdown with 11:42 left in the game.
Watson caught a 20-yard strike from Roy, slicing into the Rabbs lead in the third quarter with 4:48 remaining, 38-19.
JJ Fields caught his second touchdown of the night on the Rabbs' second possession of the second half, going 59 yards after the strike from Kade Wood, giving Atlanta a 25-point lead with 7:43 left in the third, 38-13.
Caleb Hamilton dashed 23 yards for his second score of the game in the third quarter with 10:23 remaining, adding to the Rabbs edge, 31-13.
"I love these kids," King said. "At the end of the day, I want these guys to see what it feels like to fight. In life, there's going to be bad times that you'll have to face. You have to make up your mind as a man if you're going to fight for what's right. What I'm seeing is a bunch of kids learning what it is to fight for what they want and I couldn't be more proud of them."
Daniel Hernandez booted a 33-yard field goal as time expired in the first half, adding to the Rabbs' cushion over the Leopards, 24-13.
Korbyn White caught his second touchdown pass of the half from Roy from 11 yards out with 3:42 before the half cutting into the Rabbs' lead to 21-13.
Hamilton ran 4 yards for a Rabbs score on their first drive of the second quarter, giving Atlanta the one-score lead over the Leopards, 14-7, with 11:04 before halftime.
The Rabbs jumped on the scoreboard first on their opening possession of the game.
Fields caught a 25-yard strike from Kade Wood with 9:17 remaining in the first quarter.
On the following possession, White took a pass from Roy 48 yards for a Leopard score to tie the game, 7-7, with 8:10 left in the opening period.
The Leopards travel to Sulphur Springs Friday to tangle with Argyle in another non-district matchup.