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Panthers, Mustangs square off
Winner still has shot at the state playoffs
Panthers Raekwon McMillan (42) and Greg Roman (48) wrap up a Wayne County running back in last week's game. - photo by Patty Leon

Guyton stands to be the site of an offensive showcase tonight.
According to the two teams with the best offenses in Region 3A-AAAA will go head-to-head when Liberty County faces South Effingham. The host Mustangs (4-4 overall, 0-2 in region) lead in rushing yards with 244 yards per game to the Panthers’ 194, while the Panthers (5-3, 0-2) lead in passing yards averaging 85 yards to the Mustangs 60.
But Liberty doesn’t expect to have it easy against the SEHS defense.
Panther head coach Kirk Warner said the Mustangs’ defense plays well as a unit and is well-coached and fundamentally sound.
“We will have our work cut out for us in trying to move the ball against them,” he said.
It will be up to the Panthers defense, which averages 82 tackles per game, to put the brakes on the Mustangs’ top running back, Joshua Mercer.
“He is already committed to North Carolina State,” Warner said. “And Cordaro Leverette is not a bad running back, either. He is not as big, but he runs just as hard and he is a physical player. And their quarterback can hurt you with his arms and his legs, so they have a good three-headed monster in their offensive backfield.”
Defensively, the Panthers have their own three-headed monster in Raekwon McMillan, Jeremy Caldwell-Fabergas and Cory Lazenby. Last week against Wayne County, McMillan tallied 17 tackles,
 including two for loss of yards and a sack. Caldwell had 13 tackles, while Lazenby tallied 8.5, including two for losses, and forced and recovered a fumble. Lineman Taishon Walls also forced a fumble that was recovered by Antwine Davis and returned 68 yards for a touchdown.
Offensively, Panther quarterback JJ Grant and the Mustangs’ Brandon James are averaging around 60 passing yards apiece per game. Last week, Grant was 7-of-17 for 74 yards passing and one touchdown. Grant, much like James, is a dual threat and had 12 carries for 75 yards. James had eight carries for 45 yards in last week’s 13-6 loss at Statesboro.
Warner expects a big fight tonight as both teams are in need of a win in their last sub-region game.
“The winner of our game will have the opportunity to play for that fourth seed,” he said. “For the winner, game 10 (next week) will mean something; you lose, you are just waiting on game 10 to finish up the season.”

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