Liberty will host a strong South Effingham team tonight for its final home game and a chance to play into the AAAA state playoffs.
A win tonight will put the Panthers into a play-in game against Richmond Academy-Augusta to determine where they will be first round.
Burke County sewed up the top seed by defeating Wayne. The game between Wayne and Statesboro will end up determining the second and third seeds, with the loser likely facing Glenn Hills.
But a big challenge awaits tonight first.
“South Effingham is going to come in here with a very good team. They have a big quarterback and receiver that make big time plays,” Liberty County head coach Kirk Warner said. “Defensively, they are big and strong and have speed. I would say they are coached as well and have as good as fundamentals and technique as Statesboro.”
After topping an upstart Bradwell team to start the season, defeating a strong Appling team in week two and demolishing Savannah’s Johnson High on the WSAV Thursday Night Blitz, Liberty moved into the sub-region, which it handled with ease the same way they did last season.
Of course, as with last season when the Panthers finished their tour of the Augusta area, Liberty faced its toughest test of the season two weeks ago, when it lost to perennial power Statesboro.
Life didn’t get any easier for the Panthers after the loss, since they had to travel to rival Wayne County. Wayne came into the game with only a close 32-28 loss to region power Burke County. 2013 has been a season that the Yellow Jackets have been waiting on.
This season, the Panthers have a stacked senior class with all-everything player Raekwon McMillian, sturdy linebacker/receiver Caldwell, returning quarterback Jordan Waters and veteran lines.
Also, the Panthers have a freshman sensation with safety Richard LeCounte. The stories of LeCounte intercepting two passes against Savannah’s Johnson while a Florida coach, who was on the sideline watching McMillan, offered the freshman safety a football scholarship to Florida are old hat. LeCounte has pulled down five interceptions this season along with an impressive 73 tackles, including 46 solo tackles.
Defensively, Liberty has put up strong statistics.
Playing linebacker alongside McMillan, Fabregas-Caldwell is near the leader of all Coastal Empire high-school football players in sacks with six. McMillan is right behind him with five. Together, they have combined for almost 286 total tackles.
Offensively, Waters has been 38-for-77 passing for 633 yards and six touchdowns. McMillan has 45 carries for 417 yards and eight touchdowns.
Tonight’s game also is McMillan and company’s last regular-season home game.
“This has been a special group of seniors,” Warner said. “They had some losing seasons as underclassman, but they started working hard and we have some winning seasons, but we would like to send them out with a trip to the state playoffs.”
Kickoff is at 7:30.