Liberty County High School will have the opportunity to start the season 2-0 tonight when the Panthers host Appling County at 7:30.
Last year, the Pirates thumped the Panthers, 35-16, and head coach Kirk Warner said they anticipate another rough game, but his players have a long-term goal they want to fulfill.
“Our goal is to play 10-plus games, and we need to beat teams like Appling to set up the rest of our season,” he said. “Right now, it is the most important game of our season, because it is the next game up.”
The Pirates posted an 8-2-1 overall record last year, finishing 6-1 for second place in Region 1-AAA. Appling County averaged 34.5 points per game last year while allowing 22.5 points. The Pirates finished the season ranked No. 202 in the state.
Warner said last week’s win over Bradwell set the bar high. He feared the win might go to his players’ heads, but they seem to be geared for action.
“Anytime you have an emotional game like we had last Friday, it is a tough job to start back the next Monday and get everybody back up and focused on the task ahead … but we had three great days at practice, and it looks like we will be up for the challenge” Warner said. “They beat us pretty good last year, and that is still fresh in our memory.”
The coach said the Pirates can run the ball and use the slip screen, an offensive play that Bradwell used last week. He added that his defense will need to put pressure on the Pirates quarterback.
“We watched the film, and their quarterback is back from last year, and he had a great game against us last season,” Warner said.
Liberty put up 122 rushing yards and 147 receiving yards against the Pirates last year.
Last week, the Panthers posted 290 rushing yards against Bradwell, including Raekwon McMillan’s 78-yard run, which according to maxpreps.com, is the longest recorded rushing play so far this season in Region 3A-AAAA.