Dallas Cowboys legendary tight end Jason Witten took the helm of Liberty Christian (Argyle, Texas) as head coach in 2021, looking to improve a program that just came off a 2-7 season. Two years later, the high school is eyeing an undefeated season as it enters the semifinals with a record of 12-0.
Liberty Christian took down 9-2 Grace Community (Tyler, Texas) by a score of 56-7 on Friday behind the running of Chase Garnett, who had 95 rushing yards and four touchdowns on only nine carries (all in the first half), and a defense that held the strong Grace running game to negative yardage. Entering the game, Grace averaged nearly 230 yards on the ground per game, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram; on Friday night, the team recorded negative 39 yards.
With 12 wins on the year, Liberty Christian has experienced a massive turnaround since Witten’s first year on the job, when the team had its second two-win season in a row.
On the heels of those seasons, the team was relegated from the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS) Division I to Div. II before the 2022 season, according to USA TODAY. The Warriors bounced back with 10 wins and reached the quarterfinals, setting the stage for the growth this year.
Through the semifinals, the team is averaging more than 51 points per game while allowing just four points per game. The defense has pitched five shutouts and allowed more than 13 points only once.
Both of Witten’s sons play significant roles on defense. According to MaxPreps, junior linebacker C.J. Witten leads the team in tackles and sacks. At the same time, freshman defensive back Cooper Witten entered the game over the weekend with 53 tackles, three blocked field goals and two interceptions.
Witten talked to the Star-Telegram about C.J. in August, saying, “I’m not there to hold his hand, but at the same time, it’s just been very rewarding to see him grow and become a leader and gain confidence.”
According to USA TODAY, the win on Friday gave Liberty Christian the most wins it has had in a season since it went 12-1 with a championship in 2007.
Up next is a game vs. 9-2 All Saints (Fort Worth, Texas). If the Warriors can take that, they’ll get past the wins mark of that 2007 team — but they won’t be satisfied unless they can complete the season with 14 wins and a trophy.