It was anyone’s game during the first quarter as Liberty County took on Ware County on Friday night in Waycross. But the Gators are ranked sixth in Class AAAA for a reason and quickly gained control to beat the Panthers, 47-6.
In the first quarter, the Gators scored first but missed the extra point.
The Panthers’ defense answered back as the clock was winding down in the first. According to Liberty County offensive coordinator Ryan Glazer, Gators quarterback Josh Bennett was unable to handle a high snap. Panther Trevon Walthour scooped up the ball and ran it back for a 28-yard touchdown.
Unfortunately for the Panthers, that’s the last time they were able to score.
Bennett later hit Chase Morris on a 25-yard touchdown pass to give the Gators a 12-6 lead.
With 37 seconds left in the first half, the Panthers’ offense was on the field and tossed the football, which bounced off the receiver’s hand and into the arms of Gator Tremon Porter, who ran it downfield for 92 yards and a Ware County touchdown. The home team succeeded in getting a two-point conversion, taking a 20-6 lead heading into the locker room.
The Ware County defense scored three touchdowns in the third quarter due to Liberty County miscues. The first came when the Panthers fumbled the ball and the Gators scored on the short recovery.
The second miscue came when the Gators blocked and recovered a Panthers punt in the end zone.
On another offensive drive, a Liberty County pass was deflected and caught by a Ware defender, who scored another six.
The Gators’ other touchdown came from a pass play by Bennett. He completed 12 of 16 and threw for 142 yards and two touchdowns. Bennett also rushed for 84 yards on 14 carries and two touchdowns.
The Gators’ defense did what other teams have failed to do and held senior running back Shadrach Thornton to 70 yards rushing on 21 carries.
The Panthers had five turnovers, two interceptions and three fumbles. Liberty falls to 2-5 overall and 0-3 in Region 2A-AAAA.
The Panthers play host to Wayne County on Friday, which is senior night. Wayne County (3-3-1 overall, 2-1 in the region) lost to Brunswick on Friday, 44-13.