Just a week after the Liberty County Panthers (9-1, 5-0) won their first ever region championship, they are preparing for their first-round game in the AAA state playoffs. They face the Pike County Pirates (6-4, 3-3) from Region 4 on Friday.
The Pirates are making their first playoff appearance since 2013 and their fifth in team history. They rely heavily on their rushing game as they average 192.8 yards on the ground per game and just 14.9 passing yards.
Running back C’Bo Flemister is going to be the Pirate to watch as he finished the year with 1,073 yards and 15 touchdowns on the ground. He has gone for more than 100 yards five times and more than 200 yards twice throughout the 2016 season.
The Panthers go into the game averaging nearly 41 points per game, while the Pirates average nearly 26 points per game. Adversely, the Panthers allow just 18.7 points per game, while Pike County has allowed 24.2 points.
This is the first meeting between Liberty County and Pike County and what better way to do so than in the state playoffs.
After the win over Pierce County last week, Panthers’ coach Kirk Warner said his players will have to do what they have been doing all year to beat the Pirates.
"I’m superstitious," he said. "I don’t like to watch the next team until we finish business here… But we know that they are a playoff team and come from a pretty good region. We are going to have our work cut out for us."
A win Friday will give the Panthers their first double-digit-win season ever. They would also advance to the second round of the playoffs for the second year in a row after falling to eventual AAAA state champion Cartersville in the second round in 2015.
Friday’s game at Donnell Woods Stadium begins at 7:30 p.m.