The LCHS Panther football team honored its seniors Friday, but the positive energy wasn’t enough to carry them through the night. As the game got under way, the Panther offense came out and quickly put seven points on the board against the Baldwin Braves. On Liberty County’s opening drive, Julian Stokes completed a long pass to Sinjin Mullins, which set Shadrach Thornton up for a short touchdown run.
After the Braves moved the ball downfield on their first possession, Panther defensive back Shakur Cook intercepted the ball on the 2-yard line. The Panther defense held as the Braves kicker missed a short field goal.
On the ensuing drive, Stokes threw an interception that the Braves ran back into Panther territory. Taking advantage of the costly turnover, Baldwin punched the ball into the end zone with a 2 yard touchdown run. The two teams went into halftime with the score tied 7-7.
In the second half, the Panthers turned the ball over twice, received a costly roughing the kicker call that led to a Baldwin touchdown and allowed the speedy Baldwin running backs to shred their defense. Baldwin scored twice in the second half and brought the final score to 20-7.
Panther head coach Kirk Warner said, "Baldwin is a tough team. They are ranked No. 9 in the state and you can not turn the ball over against good teams like that.
A playoff game is still within Liberty County’s grasp. The Panthers came into Friday night’s game with a 3-1 region record. After suffering a loss and dropping to 3-2 in Region 3AAA, so the chances of hosting a home playoff game are slim.
"If we had won tonight, we would be playing for the region title next Friday," Warner said. "Now we just have to do a lot of scoreboard watching. Other people need to lose and we need to win."