The Liberty County Panther football team is back in training and spending more time on the football field as they condition for the upcoming season.
The team took last week off due to Georgia High School Association regulations.
The Panthers began spring conditioning the first Monday in June, head coach Kirk Warner said, adding that they trained in the weight room from Monday to Thursday. Starting around 8 a.m., the Panthers split time between lifting weights and outdoor conditioning.
This week, the Panthers started working on football-related activities, including special teams, so the coach could evaluate his depth chart.
“Once we get that ironed out, we will be working on team-oriented drills starting next week,” Warner said.
The Panthers went 6-4 last season, but were 0-3 in Region 3A-AAAA. Warner said the players decided to invest more of their spring and summer breaks in getting ready for the upcoming season to make a run for the playoffs.
Two months of weight training and endurance work now is being supplemented with skill drills, and Warner said it helps the players get acclimated to the heat. It’s the first step before the players can begin their workouts in full pads.
Throughout the spring and summer breaks, a lot of hype has centered on Panther linebacker Raekwon McMillan. He is fielding offers from more than 23 Division I schools and will be attending the University of Georgia’s “Dawg Night Camp” today in Athens. After competing at Nike’s The Opening, an all-star camp last weekend in Oregon, McMillan was rated the 12th-best overall prospect and the highest-rated linebacker, according to bleacherreport.com.
But Warner said he expects other players to step up big this year and be scouted as well.
Incoming senior Jeremy Caldwell-Fabregas caught the eyes of many scouts after a successful junior season. On defense, Fabregas had 70 solo tackles and 25 assists with eight tackles for loss and five sacks. Fabregas also played running back, rushing for 20 yards on seven carries. Also, the 6-foot, 1-inch Fabregas had 21 receptions for 454 yards and seven touchdowns.
According to 247sports.com, Georgia Southern and Middle Tennessee State have expressed interest in Fabregas.
Warner added that Kharn Collier Ellison is developing into a leader. Ellison tallied six pancake blocks for the offensive line last year.
“He has really stepped up his game, as far as his work ethics,” Warner said. “He has taken the younger guys under his wing.”
Warner said quarterback Jordan Waters has “improved by leaps and bounds.” The coaching staff has worked with Waters to ensure he knows the offensive scheme in place this season. The incoming senior attended passing camps the past three years, but this year decided that working exclusively with the Panther coaching staff would benefit the team. Meanwhile, Warner said running back Trentice Williams is looking good.
Two years ago, Williams had a breakout season as a sophomore, but played limited minutes last year due to an ankle injury.
He still managed to rack up 418 rushing yards on 56 carries, scoring two touchdowns in eight games.
The Panthers will throw McMillan and Fabregas into the running back spot as needed, as well as Williams, returning players Jordan Moody and Jacquez Williams, and up-and-coming freshmen and sophomores.
“I think our running-back stable overall is going to be the key to us, because last year we were really banged up in that position, and this season we have about four guys that we can rotate in there and give us some yards,” Warner said.
The Panthers will host Glynn Academy at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 17 for a pre-season scrimmage.
Liberty County will host Bradwell at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 31 to kick off the regular season.