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Liberty gets look at what needs fixing

Panthers spread the playing time in loss

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POSTED: August 20, 2012 9:53 a.m.
Photo by Patty Leon/

Panther defenders Raekwon McMillan (42) and Cory Lazenby (43) stuff the run in Friday's scrimmage against Glynn Academy.

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Glynn Academy relied on its experienced offensive backfield to down the Liberty County Panthers, 40-6, Friday at Donell Woods Stadium.
Luckily for the Panthers, it was a scrimmage. But it gave the coaching staff a look at what needs to be fixed before the Panthers take the field in two weeks for the regular-season opener at Olvey Field against Bradwell.
The Panthers gave their quarterback sufficient rotations and snaps. Jordan Waters played at quarterback for the first quarter, freshman Ty Coles took most of the second-quarter snaps and JJ Grant took reps in the third quarter. Coles went back out in the fourth, as both teams gave their junior-varsity players playing time.
“We wanted to give all three some playing time, and that was the pecking order,” Panthers head coach Kirk Warner said. “Grant was just recently given his medical clearance, so he has to work his way back up from the bottom of the rotation.”
The Red Terrors were up, 7-0, at the start of the second quarter when Waters mounted a 13-play 40-yard drive for a touchdown.
On fourth down, Waters ran the ball for a first down and connected with Alton Sapp on a 15-yard pass to get near the red zone. Moments later, Waters tucked the ball and scampered in for what proved to be the Panthers’ only touchdown. Coles looked calm and poised during his time but missed on a few passes and was sacked for a fumble that led to a Red Terrors touchdown.
There were miscues and mental errors by the Panthers that gave Glynn opportunities to score. The Panthers were done in by a bad punt that traveled only a few yards, several dropped passes and  too many turnovers on fumbles from kick returns and passes.
“We need to be more consistent and have better ball control,” Warner said. “I was watching the film, and we weren’t lined up properly, and we need to hang on to the ball better. We had one good drive, then we shot ourselves in the foot.”
There were some bright spots. Cory Lazenby had several tackles and was inches away from blocking a punt. Joe Irizarry showed he has good hands by fielding catches on punt returns and as a receiver. Irizarry was on the receiving end of a 15-yard throw from Grant and was clocked by the Red Terrors defender as he turned to run downfield. Irizarry went down but didn’t cough up the ball.
Lazenby, Raekwon McMillan and Jeremy Caldwell-Fabergas combined for several tackles. The Panthers committed fewer penalties than Glynn on the night.
The Red Terrors relied on running back Jonathan Alford’s speed to punch through the Panthers’ defense. He also had steady hands and caught two touchdown passes while scoring four more touchdowns off the rush.
The Red Terrors were up, 33-6, when the fourth quarter and the JV squad stepped in. Glynn scored a  final touchdown and extra point before the end.
As for the future of the Panthers, Richard LeCounte showed potential. He is big and speedy, caught the ball well and made the tackles during the fourth quarter.  He could be the next freshman standout and start to earn time on the varsity, much like McMillan and former standout Panther Shadrach Thornton did when they first started.
Warner said they have two weeks to get everyone on the same page.
“We were still missing two starters from the offensive line that will be back next week and a few other players just starting to get into the scheme of things,” Warner said. “This was an early scrimmage, and we were not quite as sharp as we wanted to be but we have time to fix some things.”


 

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