ARLINGTON, Texas — After ending the 2020 season in an overtime loss to Crosby in the state semifinal, the Liberty Hill Panthers' 2021 season ended with a loss in the 5A-II UIL State championship.
The Panthers lost to Crosby on the final play last season, but punched their tickets to a fourth all-time state title game appearance after a blowout 42-14 semifinal win against that same Crosby team.
This year, South Oak Cliff (14-1), making its first-ever state title game appearance, stood in the way. The Panthers returned to the championship game for the first time since 2018 and fell to the Golden Bears, 23-14. South Oak Cliff is bringing home the first state title for Dallas ISD (officially) since 1958.
Head coach Kent Walker led the Panthers to the title game in his first full season at the helm, one year after his brother and former head coach Jeff Walker died from cancer just before the playoffs started last season. Kent was named interim head coach for the remainder of the 2020 season and took over the program as the next full-time head coach in 2021.
At the beginning of the year, Kent Walker and the Liberty Hill program gave KVUE a behind-the-scenes look at the preparation leading into its season opener against Ellison. Liberty Hill lost two games all year long: Ellison (6A) and to the LBJ Jaguars, who lost their 4A state title matchup against Stephenville on Friday.
Liberty Hill finished the 2021 season with a 13-3 record.
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