It was a happy homecoming night for Liberty County on Friday.
The Panthers not only notched a 47-0 Region 3-AAAA win over Windsor Forest at Donell Woods Stadium, but also clinched a spot in the first round of the playoffs.
Liberty coach Kirk Warner said based on current standings, it looks like the Panthers (3-6 overall, 1-3 in region) need to prepare for Griffin in the first round.
Against Windsor Forest, the Liberty defense swarmed the Knights in their first offensive drive, dropping the visitors for major losses and forcing the punt.
Liberty’s Richard LeCounte returned the punt to midfield. Windsor Forest was called for back-to-back penalties placing the Panthers at the Knights 24. Panther quarterback Jaalon Frazier hit LeCounte on a screen pass, and the sophomore standout took the ball near the goal line. Frazier dropped the snap, but scooped up the ball and turned the busted play into a 5-yard touchdown run for a 6-0 lead.
Windsor Forest fumbled away the ball on its next possession, which set up another screen pass from Frazier to Jacquez Williams for the second Panther touchdown. The successful 2-point conversion attempt put Liberty up, 14-0.
The Knights were forced to punt on their ensuing drive, but Liberty’s Tracy White blocked the kick, setting up the home team with great field position again. Shortly after, Williams rushed into the end zone from 12 yards out and a 20-0 lead.
Another turnover by the Knights led to another Panther touchdown off a fortunate catch by Gyri Durant. Durant was avoiding a tackler and the ball popped out of his hands, but he managed to catch the deflection and scrambled in for the touchdown. The PAT was good for 27-0 lead.
A sack by LeCounte and great pressure by Calvin Holmes and the Panther defense forced another Windsor Forest punt. Then, LeCounte took the kick 65 yards for a touchdown. That allowed Liberty to end the first quarter up, 34-0.
Liberty started the second quarter with a touchdown pass from Frazier to JaMarcus Latson. The second half was played with a running clock and all the Panther starters resting on the sideline.
In the fourth quarter, Eddie Baker scored the Panthers’ final touchdown on a 28-yard run.
Frazier was 12-of-21 passing for 195 yards, three touchdown passes and one interception.
Baker led in rushing with 65 yards on six carries and one touchdown. Latson had 43 yards on two carries. Jeremiah Melton had five carries for 35 yards. Williams rushed for 29 yards and a touchdown on two carries, and Frazier had five carries for 28 yards and a touchdown
Latson had four receptions for 64 yards and a touchdown; Durant had 44 yards and a TD off 3 catches. Williams had two receptions for 44 yards and a touchdown, and LeCounte had two receptions good for 35 yards.
LeCounte also had one interception and returned three punts for a total of 102 yards and a TD.
The Panthers committed two turnovers on fumbles, but the Liberty defense held the Knights to only four first downs in the game.
During halftime, Liberty senior Mikia Frazier was crowned the 2014 homecoming queen.
LCHS cheerleading coach Kimberly Thompson Brown was honored before the game. Brown has just returned to work after battling breast cancer and has just hit the five-month mark of being a cancer survivor. The Panthers held a Pink Out on Friday, as 11 breast-cancer survivors were recognized before the game by walking onto the field with the team.
More on the Pink Out will be online and in Wednesday’s Coastal Courier.
The next game for Liberty is Nov. 7 when the Panthers host Richmond Hill.