Three Liberty football players named to TSWA All-State list
It’s an exciting event when a player in any sport is fortunate enough to make an all-state team, but when you field three in one year, there’s cause for jubilee in the fieldhouse and beyond. And that’s what the Liberty Panthers accomplished this year with their historic run into the playoffs. Now the individual awards have reached the pinnacle of success for senior running back Alex Brown, senior running back and defensive linebacker Tyris Williams, and junior lineman John Ryder Moorman. The trio set the bar high for their teammates and for future talent to walk the halls of Liberty after being named to the Texas Sports Writers Association All-State football list.
“It’s a nice cherry on top of the pie winning this, but getting to the third round of the state playoffs was better than this times 10,” said John Ryder Moorman, junior right tackle for the Panthers and named to the Second Team All-State list.
Moorman (6-foot, 4-inches, 290 pounds) has started varsity all three years for the Panthers.
“This is a team sport,” the tackle said. “It just means that we had a lot of talented guys on this team who helped to contribute to these individual awards. It’s not just the three of us; it’s for the whole team.”
Moorman graded out at a phenomenal 98 percent that included 39 pancakes - no, not the kind served on a plate with syrup, but a block that leaves a defensive player flat on his back as the running back goes through the hole.
“This goes to all of my offensive linemen. Alex made us look good all season,” he said.
Moorman also had zero sacks allowed during the 2016 season, a tough assignment for any lineman.
Earlier the lineman picked up the 2016 12-4A unanimous First Team All-District award in helping the Panthers rush for more than 4,400 yards in the regular season and a total of more than 5,000 yards including the playoffs.
Football is in his blood.
“I’ve been playing since I was 7 years old,” he laughed. “I’ve been shoving pads on in the fall since as long as I can remember.”
Now the junior is spending time in the weight room getting ready for what he hopes will be a banner season and an opportunity to play at the next level.
“If I get the chance, I’d take advantage of it. We’ll have to see after the spring,” he said.
Running back Alex Brown was also named to the Second Team All-State team by the TSWA.
“This is a good feeling, but at the end of the day, we have to stay humble,” Brown said.
The 5-foot, 11-inch, 205-pound senior has a lot to brag about.
As a senior, he registered 270 carries for 2,204 yards and 22 touchdowns. In his junior year, he picked up 151 carries for 854 yards and 9 TDs. Even as a sophomore, he showed promise adding another 110 carries for 595 yards and three TDs. His career numbers are 531 carries for 3,653 yards and 34 TDs and that set a Liberty High School record.
“I give thanks to God and to everyone who helped give me this opportunity I’ve been given and all of my teammates,” he said.
To add to his resume, Brown earned the 2016 District 12-4A Offensive MVP and in his junior year the 2015 District 9-4A First Team All-District running back. In the 2016 playoff run, his offensive output totaled 465 yards in three playoff games.
“A lot of people think it’s a running back that gets the game going, but it’s really the linemen that provides me the holes to run through,” he said.
Now his focus is in the classroom and the weight room to get ready for play at Trinity Valley Community College.
“I’m ready to execute at the next level and see where it goes,” he said.
Tyris Williams, (6-foot 2-inches, 235-pound senior) was named the All-State Honorable Mention Team.
“It feels pretty good. I’ve put in a lot of work to get on that list,” he said.
“I was a surprise but I had hopes that I’d be on there,” he said.
On defense, Williams collected 113 tackles, 48 assists, 23 tackles for loss, five fumbles caused, two fumble recoveries, 13 quarterback hurries, five sacks, six batted balls and one interception.
On offense, he earned recognition for his 119 carries, 1,234 yards, 11 TDs and averaged 10.3 yards per game.
Earlier this year, he was named a unanimous First Team All-District Team member at running back and linebacker.
Williams, unlike his counterparts, didn’t start playing until he was in seventh grade.
“When I was younger, my mom wouldn’t let me play little league football. She thought basketball was my sport,” he said. And he does play on the Liberty Panthers basketball team and round ball was his first love until middle school.
“I played on the team in seventh grade and fell in love with it,” he said.
Williams signed his National Letter of Intent to play for the Lamar University Cardinals next fall, but knows the opportunity is more than just to play a game.
“I take my academics seriously. Without a degree, it’s hard to accomplish anything these days,” he said.
The three will be honored again at the Liberty HS sports banquet in May.