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Panthers set for first road contest of season

Liberty Co. puts unbeaten mark on the line

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POSTED: September 20, 2013 10:23 a.m.

Liberty County football players go through warm-up drills as they prepare for a game. Today, the Panthers hit the road to Augusta against Cross Creek for their first away game.

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Liberty County High School’s undefeated football team treks tonight to Augusta, where the Panthers will face the Cross Creek Razorbacks.
Liberty (3-0) is off to its best start of the season since the 2009 playoff team.
The Razorbacks are 1-1 overall and, more importantly, 1-0 at home. It is a non-conference game for the Panthers but still important. Cross Creek is in Region 3B-AAAA, the Panthers’ sub-region class. Depending on wins and losses, the Panthers could end up playing Cross Creek or another sub-region team in the final game of the season Nov. 8 to determine playoff seeding.
A big win could prove significant in keeping the Panthers’ ahead in seeding.
“Anytime a team is off to a good start, it helps as far as confidence … but we have to take care of business … one game at a time … and worry about the record at the end of the year,” Liberty head football coach Kirk Warner said.
The Panthers are led by a strong defense and have multi-faceted players throughout the team.
Panther linebacker Raekwon McMillan has made headlines during the spring and summer for his jump in the national recruiting rankings. The five-star recruit has several Division I offers for his defensive skills, but McMillan has displayed his versatility on offense as well.
He has rushed for 264 yards on 25 carries and five touchdowns in the first three games. Jeremy Caldwell-Fabregas, the Panthers’ leading receiver last season, is averaging 12 tackles per game as the outside linebacker and recorded three receptions for 61 yards in two games as a receiver this season.
Warner said much of the talent is coming from the younger players like sophomores Jacari Roberts and Jacquez Williams and freshman standout Richard LeCounte.
LeCounte has three receptions for 20 yards, 127 rushing yards on 13 carries, 365 all-purpose yards, 30 total tackles, three interceptions worth 81 yards and caused three fumbles. He already has received looks from the University of Florida, Ole Miss, Ohio State and Akron, to name a few.
But Warner said Cross Creek seems to have improved since last year’s 42-7 loss on the Panthers’ home field. The Razorbacks are averaging 139 rushing yards per game and 47.5 passing yards.
Their main running back, Deon Kleckley, is averaging 151 yards a game, compared with the Panthers’ main rusher, Trentice Williams with 101.3 yards.
And just like the Panthers, it looks like the Razorbacks did some serious training during the offseason.
“They are very athletic, big up front and they blitz a lot, so we have to be fundamentally sound on offense,” Warner said. “Defensively, they fly around the ball … Offensively, they run a Pro-I set, and they do some pretty good things out of it.”
Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.

In other football news, Bradwell Institute is off tonight with a bye-week and will play next Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Effingham County.


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