Liberty County High School football coach Kirk Warner is trying to keep the hype under wraps as the Panthers get set to host Hephzibah at 7:30 tonight for their homecoming game.
It could be the night that the coach hits a personal best by earning his first 5-0 season start since taking the helm of the football program 12 years ago.
“We haven’t talked very much about it this week. We are still taking it one game at a time. It would be the best start of my tenure … but each game is still important,” Warner said.
He reiterated that, much like the teams they’ve already played, the Hephzibah Rebels look athletic on film.
“They try and use multiple looks and schemes and try and keep you confused,” he said.
On paper, the Panthers are statistical favorites, averaging 35.8 points per game to the Rebels’ 7.5. The Panther offense averages 272 rushing yards per game and 96 through the air, according to maxpreps.com.
On the flip side, the Rebels struggle with their passing game, averaging 40.5 yards per game. Their ground game is slightly better at 108.3 yards per game.
But Hephzibah has yet to go against the Panthers’ defense. Liberty’s D is averaging 80-plus tackles per game and has totaled 22.5 sacks and seven interceptions on the season. The Panthers’ ability to stop the rush while placing points on the board has helped the team jump from No. 194 to No. 116 in the state ranking system as of Tuesday on maxpreps.com.
According to the Georgia High School Football Historians Association, the Panthers are on their longest winning streak (five games) since Nov. 9, 2012, when they beat Glenn Hills in the sub-region game but didn’t qualify for the state playoffs.
A win tonight would add to that streak and give the team a boost before region play begins Oct. 11 against currently undefeated Statesboro.