POOLER, GA -- And then there were two.
The Liberty County Panthers (2-3, 2-1 Region 3-3A) and the Windsor Forest Knights (3-2, 2-0 Region 3-3A) were the final unbeaten teams in Region 3-3A.
That was until Windsor escaped with a low scoring, defensive struggle win over the Panthers, winning 12-6 at Pooler Recreational Complex.
The Panthers got the ball first and was set up with favorable field position after James Summersett returned the kick to Windsor’s 42.
Shortly, their first and only score of the second half came off a five-yard run by Marques Johnson to take a 6-0 lead.
Windsor got their first points off the strength of rushing by quarterback Chris Glover and running back Mike Caballero.
They saw themselves on the goal line where Glover ran in a touchdown to also score Windsor’s only points in the first half.
After the Glover touchdown, the Panthers began their drive on Windsor’s 32.
But that drive was short lived as they couldn’t capitalize off the short field after Carlos Singleton threw an interception to a sitting Kerwin Tattnall as the quarterback tried to get the ball to Tre Foster.
In the second quarter, no team put up points.
The Panthers had an opportunity to after Caz Creasy recovered a muffed punt by Caballero on Liberty’s 44.
Three plays later, Singleton couldn’t secure a shotgun snap, allowing Windsor’s Zach Patterson to jump on the ball on the 43.
The Panthers had one more opportunity to score before halftime as Singleton took a shot downfield to Ron Golden.
Golden couldn’t retrieve it though, sending the teams to the locker room with the game tied up.
Coming out for the second half, both teams couldn’t score on their inaugural drives.
The first score came midway through the third quarter when Windsor pulled ahead after recovering a fumbled snap by Singleton on fourth down, leading to Caballero to rush for a 20-yarder to take a 12-6 lead.
“We tried to punt the ball and we dropped it,” Panthers Head Coach Kirk Warner said about the turn of events. “They got it on the 20-yard line and scored one play later. In a tight game like this you can’t drop the punt and not get it off. Those are the things that hurt us.”
Down the stretch, the Panthers had their chances.
First, they got the ball on Windsor’s 48 after Johnson blocked their punt, but no points came from it.
Then they recovered a Windsor fumble, taking over from their own 33 before turning the ball over on downs.
The Panthers’ last drive came when they got the ball back on Windsor’s 47 after recovering a fumble.
After a pass interference call after Singleton tried to hit Summersett down the field, they were moved to the 30.
But after multiple shots down the field as time expired, they couldn’t connect on any completions, ultimately giving the win to Windsor.
“We knew we had to throw the ball,” Warner said about the Panthers’ last attempt at scoring. “I thought we’d be a little better on the sprint out game, but we got to work on that with our quarterback to get his shoulders downhill instead of to the side. I thought we had the last one on the wheel, but it went right through our running back’s hand. Those are some plays that hopefully we make down the road.”
The Panthers dropped to 2-3 (2-1 Region 3-3A) but are still second in the region.
“We didn’t make plays enough plays offensively,” Warner said. “You won’t win many games scoring six points. We had our shots and a bunch of 50-50 balls and didn’t come down with any of them. We had too many penalties again. That’s been a bug-a-boo. We fought hard but we made more mistakes. We just got to go back to the drawing board.”
They will host Savannah High (2-3, 1-2 Region 3-3A) at Donell Woods Stadium on Oct. 15 for a region matchup.
“We got to win next week,” Warner said about game six. “We got to come back and work on mistakes, eliminate the penalties and come out and hopefully take down Savannah High next week. We can’t worry about what they’re doing now. We just got to make sure that we win our games. It’ll probably come down between us, Windsor, and Southeast Bulloch. We still got a shot, but we just got make sure we take care of our end.”