Liberty County will start the football season tonight with a scrimmage against Glynn Academy at 7:30 in Brunswick.
The game will cap off an action-packed summer that included several visits by Division I coaches to the Liberty campus, all wanting to catch a glimpse of coveted recruit and senior linebacker Raekwon McMillan.
But with the season in sight, McMillan tweeted that it is time to focus on the game and his teammates. The Panthers missed the playoffs last year when many, including the players, thought it was theirs to take.
Most of the players took it upon themselves to come out every day during the summer to pump iron and train, even before the coaches called for it.
Liberty head coach Kirk Warner said the scrimmage will test all his players, and he plans to see who is ready to take on additional roles for the team. The Panthers are looking to earn a win against the Red Terrors, a team they have yet to beat in their last four matchups. “We are looking for some of our younger guys to step up. There are certain guys on the team that we know what they are capable of doing, like Raekwon McMillan and Jeremy Caldwell-Fabregas,” Warner said, adding players like freshman Richard LeCounte already have made an offseason impression that he hopes will carry forward.
Last year, the Panthers featured two quarterbacks in JJ Grant and Jordan Waters, but this year Waters will run a one-man show.
“And we are really interested in seeing how Jordan Waters is going to react being the full-time starting quarterback, and we will see how he manages the game,” Warner said.
The Panthers will test their running-back corps, which features senior Trentice Williams. Williams missed a good chunk of last season due to an injury but managed 418 rushing yards for the season.
Wide receiver Paris Boles missed all of last season due to a knee injury but has made a full recovery and is expected to see a lot of action this year. In 2011, Boles had nine receptions for 118 yards.
Standout players like McMillan and Fabregas primarily will play for the defense but could see action on the offense as well. McMillan rushed for 316 yards and four touchdowns on 49 carries last season. Fabregas led in receptions with 21 catches for 454 yards and seven touchdowns.
The coach said he plans to test his special teams tonight.
“We will be doing live special teams all the way through the game,” Warner said. “We definitely need to be able to kick field goals and punt and have the punt-coverage team and kick teams ready.”
Last year, junior Joaquin Lemapu had 42 kickoffs for 340 yards and 13 field goals. Warner said the kicks still are not as consistent as he would like them to be but have improved.
“Overall, we want to see how everyone responds to real-time game action,” Warner said.