Liberty travels to Thomson tonight to take on the Bulldogs and try for their first region 3-AAA win.
Last season, the Bulldogs came to Donell Woods and handed the hometown team its second loss at the new stadium. In that game, the Panthers lost by only a touchdown, 28-21.
However, LCHS put up a fight and has improved since last season. They kept up with Washington County in last week’s game. Last year, Washington County shut out the Liberty squad 42-0. This year, the Panthers put up 130 yards on 29 carries against the Golden Hawks and were 10 of 12 for 122 yards passing.
With blockers buying him time in the pocket, Panther quarterback Julian Stokes hit Shadrach Thornton once for an 11-yard reception. He also hit Mike Rodriguez three times for a total of 17 yards, and found Sinjin Mullis three times for a total of 83 yards. Stokes completed to Kris Crawford three times for 11 yards. Thornton dominated the running game with 79 yards, and Stokes had 46 yards.If the Panthers manage a win against Thomson, which is 2-2 overall and 1-0 in the region, it will mark their first victory against the Bulldogs in their last three matches, according to ga.prepcountry.com. In 2004, Thomson won by one, 13-12. In 2005, it was a 3-0 win with a Thomson field goal, and last year, the Bulldogs won it by a touchdown.
Defensively, both teams are solid. Thomson has
allowed 57 points while
the Panthers have allowed 59.
Leading in solo tackles against Washington last week, Shakur Cook earned nine, Thomas Penny earned eight, Artavious Frost tackled six, and Marcus Jefferson, Trammal Morris and Aaron Bennett each tackled five. Frost also knocked down a possible touchdown pass. On the front line, Demetrick Mothershed had two tackles and forced the quarterback to rush a pass three times.
Panther coach Kirk Warner said his team’s battle against Washington County was beneficial ahead of the Thomson game.
"They are very similar to Washington County," he said. "They’re well coached and fundamentally sound and well rounded."
Warner said he emphasized kick and punt returns this week. Against WACO, the Panthers dropped a few returns, which cost them good field position.
The coach said he is also preparing his defense to stop the run.
"They pass it more than they have in the past," he said of the Bulldogs offense. "But they are a running team. They are going to try and shove it down your throat. They are a wing-T team and if they catch you sleeping, they will capitalize on the opportunity."
Warner said his squad’s ability to spread the ball around to several skilled players has helped and he thinks it will keep the opponents’ defense from honing in on one player and one running scheme.
Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. in Thomson.