TEXARKANA - It took a half for Liberty-Eylau to get going against Carthage, and it proved to be the Leopards’ downfall.

The fifth-ranked Bulldogs built a 28-0 lead and then had to hold on as 11th-ranked L-E came charging back by pushing the tempo and rattling off 20 straight points, only to see it efforts to come up short in a 34-20 loss to Carthage Friday at Harris Field.

After managing just three first down before intermission, the Leopards moved the chains 13 times in the second half. Decorian Phillips threw a touchdown and ran for another, and DeAndre Hoof also plunged in from the 1 for a TD on the first play of the fourth quarter.

Phillips ended up connecting on 17 of 28 for 171 yards and no interceptions. He also ran for 63 yards.

Carthage quarterback Kason Davis, the son of former Pleasant Grove head coach Kevin Davis, was 23 of 32 for 292 yards and four touchdowns, including a 66-yard strike to Roderic Calloway on the Bulldogs’ first play of the second half to go up 28 points just 2:11 into the third quarter.

The Leopards responded with a 7-play, 64-yard drive, with Phillips throwing a strike to Aaron Bruce at the goal line with 7:06 left in the third. Liberty-Eylau’s defense stepped up on the ensuing Carthage possession and sacked Davis twice, Darrell Houff taking him down for a 12-yard loss on second-and-23.

Following a punt, the Leopards marched 78 yards in 10 plays, with Hoofs scoring from the 1, set up by Darian Walker’s 40-yard catch down the right sideline on the last play of the third period. The Bulldogs turned the ball over on downs after an all-out blitz on fourth down at midfield forced an incompletion, and the Leopards scored a third time, going 49 yards on eight plays.

Phillips ran in 15 yards on a quarterback draw to make it 28-20 with 6:56.

Keaontay Ingram tacked on an insurance TD for the Bulldogs with 2:01 remaining after a desperation fourth-down attempt by L-E came up short. Ingram rushed 21 times for 172 yards. Dee Bowens had eight catches for 109 yards for Carthage (2-0), and Calloway had five for 105.

The Bulldogs limited L-E (0-2) to just four possessions in the first half and forced three punts.

Carthage hosts Whitehouse and Liberty-Eylau visits Texas High on Friday.


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