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Teams fighting as season winds down
Panthers have best record with three games left
Panther D.J. Bratcher rushes downfield against Glenn Hills during Liberty Countys win over Glenn Hills earlier this season. The Panthers are in the hunt for a spot in the state Class AAAA playoffs. - photo by Patty Leon

There are only three games remaining in the high-school football regular season, and some of the local prep teams still are in the running for playoff spots.
Meanwhile, others are looking to finish the season strong.
First Presbyterian Christian Academy entered the season unsure of how well it would do in its first year of football in the Georgia Independent School Association.
Despite a 0-7 record, the Highlanders have proven to be a team with an offense that can move the ball and a defense that can produce turnovers. The Highlanders put 160 points on the board this season.
And their fight-to-the-end attitude has, on two occasions, nearly produced the program’s first win.
One occasion was Sept. 24 against St. Andrews. The Lions had the lead, but Highlander Herbert Roberts made four picks, and FPCA charged back to take a 28-27 lead with less than seven minutes remaining in the game. The Lions ate up as much of the clock as they could and used the running game and the sideline to chip away yards. The Lions got the go-ahead score with 34 seconds left to play.
Not wanting to give FPCA a chance for a comeback, the Lions recovered an onside kick and took a knee to end the game.
Last week, Robert Toombs Christian Academy almost was stunned with FPCA’s second-half comeback. Trailing 36-14 at the half, the Highlanders scored 32 points to cut the lead to two points. FPCA had the ball deep in RTCA territory late, but the Crusaders got an interception inside their own 5 with about a minute left. The Crusaders got just enough yardage to avoid a safety and ate up the remaining time.
FPCA football coach Andy Yanzetich said his team has made exceptional strides, and the one thing left would be to earn their first win.
“We keep coming so close,” he said after last week’s near-comeback. “These guys are eventually going to do it.”
FPCA travels Friday to Crisp Academy (4-4), and next week plays at Randolph Southern (4-4). The Highlanders finish the season Nov. 9 at home against Fullington (3-4).
Bradwell Institute is struggling with a 1-6 overall record and 1-3 region mark as it approaches games with the two toughest teams in Region 3-AAAAA. BI needs to win out the remainder of its schedule to have chance at the postseason.
The Tigers travel to Richmond Hill this week. The Wildcats are coming off two back-to-back losses, but are 5-2 overall and likely will finish third in the region behind Ware County and Effingham County.
The Tigers have managed only 51 total points this season.
Next week, BI has an even bigger challenge as it hosts top-seeded Ware County (6-0, 4-0). The Tigers finish the season at home against a winless Groves High.
Liberty County
The Panthers (5-2, 0-1 3A-AAAA)  suffered a setback two weeks ago in their first region game against Statesboro. This week, the Panthers host Wayne County,  a team that is 2-0 against Liberty.  But the sub-region (3A-AAAA) is wide open, and a win against Wayne County and South Effingham on Nov. 2 would give the Liberty squad a shot to host Butler, Glenn Hills or Hephzibah during the Nov. 9 sub-region play-in.
Liberty is led by a strong defense that averages 81 tackles per game and has 36 sacks for the season. Offensively, the Panthers’ rushing game has accumulated 1,429 yards and 12 touchdowns, while their passing game has produced seven touchdowns and 589 yards.

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