Liberty County High School was thrust into Region 2A-AAAA last year and the football team suddenly faced a whole new set of Region opponents.
Last year they had experienced players, a seasoned quarterback in Matt Desbiens and a defense that dominated opponents in 2009.
But when you’re put in a new Region you come up against squads you’ve never seen before and that can wreak havoc, even on an experienced squad. The Panthers finished 2-8 overall and 1-4 in the Region.
“When you go to a new Region… Washington County and Baldwin, we caught up to them and as soon as we did they moved us (to a new Region),” defensive line coach Michael Bashlor said. “Now you have to adjust to other teams, and last year was an adjustment, new teams that you haven’t played, new schemes, but after last year I think we should do a lot better this year.”
According to Panther coach Kirk Warner the boys have sacrificed their summer to hit the weights and condition. He said they have developed depth in critical spots and the team has improved overall speed.
Offensive coordinator Ryan Glazer said the overall work ethic has dramatically improved.
“They hit it harder in the weight room this year,” Glazer said. “Having the season that we had last year made them want to work harder, compared to the year before where we had so much success and I think they thought we can just show up and we can win every Friday night.”
Glazer added that several games last season were lost late in the third or fourth quarter.
“And I think with the conditioning and the lifting we’ve been doing, hopefully that will help us get over that hump.”
The Panthers will scrimmage Bradwell Institute next Friday night. Check out the Panthers’ full schedule, roster and teams in their annual football tab included in the Aug. 21, edition of the Courier.