MOUNTAIN VIEW –– The Houston High School football team showed several signs of improvement this year.
The season finale was not one of them.
Liberty flexed its championship muscle by scoring eight times in the opening 19 minutes and cruised past the Tigers 61-7 Friday night.
The Eagles (9-1) advanced to the semifinals as they attempt to defend their championship in Class 2 District 9. Houston (0-10) finished the season without a victory.
Three of the top four seeds in the district advanced. Along with Liberty moving on, top-seeded Strafford beat Pleasant Hope 62-7 and No. 4 Willow Springs blanked Diamond 27-0.
The lone upset was sixth-seeded Ash Grove knocking off No. 3 Fair Grove 20-7.
Liberty will host Ash Grove in one semifinal Friday while Willow Springs will travel to Strafford in the other semifinal. The championship game is Nov. 7.
Although Houston didn’t win a game in the regular season, the Tigers were within striking distance late in a handful of games. Maybe the most impressive performance was a loss to Mountain Grove three weeks earlier that was an eight-point game in the fourth quarter.
But this one was never close.
Facing the Tigers for the second straight week, Liberty scored four times in the first quarter and five more times in the second en route to a 61-0 halftime advantage.
Eagles quarterback Josh Pruett had four touchdown passes, a rushing touchdown and returned an interception for a score. Running back Bryan Porter had nine carries for 120 yards and two scores.
HHS senior Ty Wilkins had 12 carries for 73 yards and a touchdown in his final game for the Tigers. Matt Knarr added 51 yards on the ground.
Senior Kolby Walker, the team’s leading tackler, had six solo and four assisted tackles in his final game. He finished with 112 tackles –– 37 more than any of his teammates.
The Tigers scored their lone points on their first drive of the second half. Beginning on its own 45-yard line, Houston covered 55 yards in 10 plays. Knarr had a 19-yard run and Wilkins had a 10-yard scamper during the drive that ended with Wilkins’ two-yard score.
(1) Strafford 62, (8) Pleasant Hope 7
(2) Liberty 61, (7) Houston 7
(6) Ash Grove 20, (3) Fair Grove 7
(4) Willow Springs 27, (5) Diamond 0
(4) Willow Springs at (1) Strafford
(6) Ash Grove at (2) Liberty