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Panthers decide on starters
Junior Panther Julian Stokes (13) looks to get the nod as the starting quarterback for the Liberty County Panthers this season. - photo by By Patty Leon / Coastal Courier
With two seasons of snaps under his belt junior Julian Stokes will likely be the starting quarterback for the Liberty County Panthers this season. Stokes started taking snaps as a freshman when the starting quarterback was injured and out with a dislocated shoulder.
Last season he continued to lead the offense as he split the starting job with Henry Barrett. This year he is poised to be the one under center for most of the season and Panther head coach Kirk Warner said he thinks Stokes will do well.
"Just looking at him from last season and throughout the summer workouts, he has improved immensely," the coach said. "His decision making abilities have improved and I think that is going to be our biggest asset. Physically he's gotten stronger and in better shape so I think he' going to be able to handle the position much better than he did last year."
Warner knows there are no guarantees in the game of football and said he is evaluating others should the need arise due to strategy or injuries.
"Dimitri Stinson, who will probably start as a running back, had his feet wet last season as a quarterback," Warner said. "He's grasped the system pretty well. He's athletic, smart and physical and we are counting on him as our backup. After that we have sophomore Matt Desbiens who is coming along and will run the junior varsity and then we will see if we have a freshman to back him up at the JV level."
As Warner and offensive coordinator Jeff Daffron assess their players they decided to tweak the triple option, Erk Russell GSU offense Warner put in place when he arrived at LCHS seven years ago. This season their offense will be more of a shotgun spread offense to fit the players' size and speed.
"It's very similar," Warner said. "The reads are a little bit different but the bottom line is that it still makes you play assignment football."
Warner said it's difficult to get a play exactly right when dealing with kids at the high school level saying there are always bound to be some mistakes. He said size was also a factor in their switch.
"We just had ditch our true triple option because we didn't have the brooding fullbacks we've had in the past," he said. "But we have some pretty decent speed and we plan to force teams to play us from side to side covering the entire field. From Sideline to sideline and let our speed beat their speed."

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