Liberty County High School has another tough battle tonight as the 6-1 Panthers take on the 6-1 Wayne County Yellow Jackets in Jesup.
Panther head coach Kirk Warner knows just how important tonight’s game is as he takes the field against the 62nd-ranked team in Georgia.
The Panthers fell to 0-1 in Region 3A-AAAA two weeks ago in a home loss to Statesboro. Liberty was off last week. Despite holding an overall 6-1 mark, tonight’s game and the one remaining against South Effingham are crucial for the Panthers to avoid last season’s region game shutout. Wins also guarantee a trip to the playoffs.
Warner said they used last week to heal minor injuries and concentrate on Panther football.
“We were healing up,” he said. “We’ve been banging it hard and had a late bye week so we had some time to heal the bumps and bruises … We practiced on Liberty football and cleaning up the mistakes that have been killing us, even when we won the game. We need to line up on the ball correctly on defense, protect the ball on offense.”
Warner said this week has been spent watching film on the Yellow Jackets and attacking plays during practice. The Yellow Jackets lone loss came at the hands of last year’s Class AAAA region champs Burke County.
Warner added a win on the road also will build the team’s confidence should they make the post season, but the short-term focus is getting past Wayne County.
Whether on purpose or just by chance, the Yellow Jackets aren’t giving prognosticators any glimpse of what the matchup is statistically. Wayne County’s has stats listed for only one game on maxpreps.com, but they’ve climbed the ranks twice this season due to ability to execute plays against high-level teams.
The Panthers continue to run a strong ground game that has tallied 19 touchdowns and 1,785 yards, led by Trentice Williams, who has 546. Raekwon McMillan might be being recruited for his line-backing, skills but he also has generated 417 rushing yards and eight touchdowns to date.
Panther quarterback Jordan Waters is 38-of-87 for 633 passing yards and six touchdowns to help the Panthers’ passing game.
McMillan has tallied 107 total tackles to lead the Panther defense.
Kickoff in Jesup is 7:30 p.m.