Hurricane Irene may no longer be a threat in our area, but there are still storms looming tonight on football fields across southeast Georgia.
Tonight is the official start of the regular season. Liberty will play at Donell Woods Stadium against the visiting Americus-Sumter Panthers, while Bradwell travels to Brunswick to take on Glynn Academy.
Here’s a look at both contests:
Tigers at Glynn
After being plagued with injuries the past two years, the Tigers feel better this season about having more depth and experienced players on the roster.
The Tigers will need that depth as a few of their starters were injured in last week’s scrimmage against Liberty County High School.
“We have several guys that may not play this first game,” Tigers coach Jim Walsh Jr. said. “As many as four starters will be out, but we have a little bit of depth to play with, so we will go with those kids.”
One notable starter who will sit out tonight is Tony Britton. The speedster injured his leg in last week’s scrimmage and will be sorely missed on the defensive side of the ball.
Offensively, the Tigers have a very experienced and poised quarterback in senior Myrese Cobb.
“He did a great job throwing the ball the other night,” Walsh said. “He has good control and he understands the offense. He’s been a leader for us for two years — this being his third — and we know the kid can play. He is a great guy to have in the huddle.”
Walsh said he anticipates the Red Terrors will stick with their 4-4 defense.
“They’ve always been pretty solid with their front,” he said. “We don’t expect this year to be any different.”
The Red Terrors and the Tigers are 5-5 against each other. Kick-off is set for 7:30 tonight.
Americus-Sumter at Liberty County
Winning last week’s scrimmage is a good start, but the Liberty Panthers know the real test comes tonight in facing an opponent that beat them, 28-7, in last year’s opener. Liberty County head coach Kirk Warner said most of Americus-Sumter’s defense is back this season, and that is among the first thing his team needs to address.
“They return eight out of their 11 on defense,” he said. “They gave us a hard time last year, and looking at film, they are real fast and they run to the ball.”
“Last year, we really didn’t know anything about them,” offensive coordinator Ryan Glazer added. “They blitzed a lot on us and we really weren’t expecting that. We have a different approach against them this year.”
Offensively Warner said the visiting Panthers are a pass-happy team.
“We have to make sure we are able to cover the pass,” he said. “They throw it a lot and they don’t have much of a power game, but they have fast players all over the field on offense and defense.”
Warner said his team has been working to reduce mental errors, which led to several offensive penalties in last week’s scrimmage. Glazer said they’ve also been working on their passing game.
“Against Bradwell, we only attempted three passes and didn’t complete any of them,” he said. “It’s a matter of timing and perfecting our plays a little bit more.”
The running game looks solid for the Panthers. Although he had limited play last week, Sam Carter had four carries for 19 yards.
Senior Shadrach Thornton was true to form with 10 carries for 121 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Jerome “JJ” Grant had five carries for 29 yards. Sliding over from the defense, Raekwon McMillan managed
5 yards on two carries, one of which was a touchdown. The Liberty Panthers have fielded a strong defense the past three seasons and look strong again this year. McMillan tallied eight tackles in the scrimmage, Darin Townsend had a fumble recovery and Melvin King batted down a pass. Marcus LeCounte and Cory Lazenby had 6.5 tackles each.
Barring any unforeseen problems due to Mother Nature, the game featuring the Panthers and the Panthers will start at 7:30 tonight.