Liberty County High School held out long enough to earn a 21-19 win over Glenn Hills on Friday in Augusta. The narrow victory came in a game in which the Panthers made costly errors that the Spartans scored on.
The Panthers were up, 13-0, at the half off a five-yard touchdown run by Raekwon McMillan and a Tim Dobson five-yard return off a fumble recovery. Joaquin Lemapu went 1-of-2 for the point after attempts.
However, the Panthers’ first mistake happened in the third quarter when Glenn Hills had a 97-yard interception return for a touchdown off Panther quarterback Jordan Waters. On their next offensive drive, the Panthers coughed up the ball. The Spartans tossed a 13-yard touchdown pass but missed the extra point, which tied the game 13-13.
In the second half, the Panther committed five turnovers.
LCHS freshman Richard LeCounte made the go-ahead score by running back a kick 88 yards and a touchdown. McMillan scored the two-point conversion.
The Spartans scored a touchdown with 45 seconds left, but the Panthers stopped the conversion attempt.
Looking at the mid-point of the season, the Panthers can feel good about their record and accomplishments. But the Panthers know they can’t afford to make the errors like they did at Glenn Hills if they want to reach the playoffs this year, especially with three tough Region 3A-AAAA games coming up.
Last season, the Panthers finished 6-4 overall but were denied any victories within their sub-region. Among region foes, Statesboro High, ranked No. 6, also is 6-0 and has a slew of seniors; Wayne County, which made it all the way to the semifinals last season, is 5-1; and South Effingham is 4-2 and made it to the second round of the playoffs last year.
To make it to the playoffs, Liberty needs at least one solid victory against these three squads. The Panthers’ statistics suggest they have a good chance. Liberty boys are 30-of-74 passing for 513 yards and five touchdowns. The rushing attack has rushed for 1,655 yards and 19 touchdowns on 218 carries. The offensive line has recorded 28 pancake blocks, and the team has racked up 2,845 all-purpose yards.
The defensive has tallied 513 total tackles, including 63 tackles for loss. The Panthers have hurried their opponents’ quarterbacks 20 times and tallied 23.5 sacks for 130 yards lost and made nine interceptions good for 206 yards gained.
The Panthers’ first challenge happens Friday when they host Statesboro. They then get a bye-week before playing at Wayne County on Oct. 25. Their final region game is Nov. 1 at home against South Effingham.
Stats for Statesboro and Wayne County were not posted, but according to maxpreps.com, South Effingham is 72-of-119 passing for 954 yards and five touchdowns. The Mustangs have rushed for 615 yards and 12 touchdowns on 153 carries and have 1,734 all-purpose yards.
Friday’s game against Statesboro also is Liberty County Recreation Night.