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Panthers preparing for season

POSTED: July 14, 2007 5:03 a.m.
After making history last season with the school’s first winning season and playoff bid, the Liberty County Panthers are out to prove in 2007 that last season was not a fluke.
To prepare for the grueling season the Panthers are working hard in the summer so when the first day of “official” practice starts on Aug. 1, they will be ready.
LCHS football coach Kirk Warner said more than 90 students have come out in the summer, with roughly 55 coming daily.
That’s an increase over last season and Warner said the winning season plays a part in the increase.
“I think it ties into the winning season,” he said. “We’re getting season,” he said. “We’re getting some good freshmen and players who want to continue what we started last year. In addition to the winning season, I think a  lot of kids are coming out because they are wanting to get better.”
The Panthers have workouts from 5-8 p.m. Monday-Thursdays. They lift weights, run and go over offense and defense terminology and plays. The Georgia High School Association dictates that all practices must be voluntary and that no pads or helmets may be worn.
The Panthers nor any GHSA team will practice next week.
However, after the Fourth of July weekend, Warner hopes more players will come out for the team. He said they need an updated physical and need to see him at the Panther field house during practice at the school.
The Panthers open the season on Aug. 31 in Darien against McIntosh County Academy in a non-region contest at 7:30 p.m.
The Panthers open their home season on Sept. 21 against Calvary Day School at 7:30 p.m., hopefully to the players, fans and coaches in their new stadium.
Region 3-AAA action begins for the Panthers on Sept. 28 against Harlem at 7:30 p.m. Sub-region play (Region 3-AAA [A]) begins Oct. 12 at Burke County. Game time is 7:30 p.m.
Although 2006 was a record year for the Panthers, 2007 could be even better.
Some of the gridiron gladiators returning to the Panthers from last season, include 2006 All-Region first team fullback Byron Calahan (sr.), who also doubles as a linebacker and wide-receiver Roderick Jones (jr.), who also plays defensive back.
Other big names returning for Liberty County include offensive linemen Josh Fuller (sr.), Jonathan Davis (sr.) and John Clark (jr.).Dimitri Lane, who also plays fullback, returns for his senior season.
The most important position in football, quarterback, is still open. Last year’s quarterback Robert Walsh is at LaGrange College, leaving Henry Barrett, Julian Stokes, Demetrius Stinson, Jared Rivers and Matt Desbiens to compete for the job.
Offensively, the Panthers operate out of the veer, I-formation and the traditional Georgia Southern bone.
“We’re going to run inside/outside and throw in some sweeps and counters,” Warner said. “If we think we need to grind it out and bump heads, then we’ll put Dimitri and Byron in the back on the I-bone. And we’re still going to run the option.”
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