ROYSE CITY -- Defending state champion Argyle extended its winning streak to 30 on Friday night, but not before holding off a spirited effort from upstart Liberty-Eylau.

Argyle star running back Nick Ralston rushed for 214 yards and five touchdowns, and the Eagles survived Liberty-Eylau, 45-42, despite scoring just once in the second half of their Class 4A Division I state quarterfinal at Royse City ISD Stadium.

Argyle (14-0) remained in position to defend its 3A Division II crown from a season ago with the win, and will face Graham (12-2) next week in the semifinals.

Liberty-Eylau quarterback Ke'mon Freeman rushes forward during the Leopards' 45-42 loss to Argyle in their Class 4A Division I state quarterfinal Friday night in Royse City. (Evan Lewis,

Liberty-Eylau (8-6), which lost five of its first six games this season, scored 21 second-half points to trim what was a 17-point halftime deficit to just three points early in the fourth quarter.

Ricardo Lockett scored on a 3-yard run with 10 minutes remaining in the game, but the Leopards' final two possessions of the night ended without points. The first drive stalled at their own 43, and the lasted ended on an interception with inside a minute to play.

Ralston, an Arizona State commit, scored all of his touchdowns on runs of 10 yards or less. His 1-yarder, Argyle's only score of the second half, gave the Eagles a 45-35 lead with 59 seconds remaining in the third.

That came after Liberty-Eylau trimmed to the deficit to three points on third-quarter touchdown runs from Donelle Hoof and Lockett.

The Leopards, which outgained Argyle on the night 506-431, rushed for 396 yards as a team. Hoof led the way with 17 carries for 193 yards and two touchdowns, including an 86-yarder on the game's first play from scrimmage.

Liberty-Eylau quarterback Ke'mon Freeman rushed for 97 yards, and was 3 of 16 passing on the night for 110 yards through the air with an 80-yard touchdown strike to Malcolm Gant, which gave the Leopards a 21-18 lead in the early stages of the second quarter.

Argyle scored the half's final 20 points to build a 38-21 halftime advantage. Ralston's 7-yard touchdown run regained the lead for Argyle at 25-21, before a 2-yard Ralston score and Drew Estrada 2-yard touchdown just 30 seconds apart finished off the quarter.

[Stats courtesy,]

Argyle's Nick Ralston tries to run away from Liberty-Eylau linebacker Ricky Johnson during their Class 4A Division I state quarterfinal Friday night in Royse City. (Evan Lewis,

No. 2 Argyle 45, Liberty-Eylau 42

Class 4A Division I Quarterfinal
At Royse City ISD Stadium

Liberty-Eylau           14      7    14      7    --    42
Argyle                     18    20      7      0    --    45

First Quarter
LE--Donelle Hoof 86 run (kick failed), 11:40.
ARG--Nick Ralston 10 run (kick failed), 8:07.
LE--Lamont Byrd 49 run (Thurman Morbley pass from Ke'mon Freeman), 5:03.
ARG--Ralston 3 run (kick failed), 3:55.
ARG--J.C. Chalk 62 pass from Cooper Rodgers (run failed), :23.
Second Quarter
LE--Malcolm Gant 80 pass from Freeman (Dalton Turner kick), 10:52.
ARG--Ralston 7 run (Ryan Schleder kick), 8:00.
ARG--Ralston 2 run (Schleder kick), 1:45.
ARG--Drew Estrada 2 run (kick failed), 1:15.
Third Quarter
LE--Hoof 13 run (Tavian Gullatt kick), 9:58.
LE--Ricardo Lockett 4 run (Gullatt kick), 4:15.
ARG--Ralston 1 run (Schleder kick), :59.
Fourth Quarter
LE--Lockett 3 run (Gullatt kick), 10:00.

                                            LE                 ARG
First Downs                           22                    22
Total Yards                          506                  431
Rushes-Yards                 43-396            48-242
Passing Yards                      110                 189
Comp.-Att.-Int.                3-16-1             8-12-2
Punts-Avg.                       4-27.0             2-35.5
Fumbles-Lost                        2-1                  0-0
Penalties-Yards                   4-33                4-35

RUSHING--Liberty-Eylau, Donelle Hoof 17-193, Ke'mon Freeman 15-97, Lamont Byrd 8-76, Arymis Johnson 1-23, Ricardo Lockett 2-7. Argyle, Nick Ralston 38-214, Gage McCook 3-43, Drew Estrada 3-16, Team 2-(-10), Cooper Rodgers 2-(-21).
PASSING--Liberty-Eylau, Freeman 3-16-1--110. Argyle, Rodgers 8-12-2--189.
RECEIVING--Liberty-Eylau, Malcolm Gant 1-80, Cedric Ellis 1-18, Thurman Morbley 1-12. Argyle, J.C. Chalk 4-91, Estrada 2-34, Dane Ledford 1-39, Hunter Markwardt 1-25.