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Panthers eke out 21-20 OT win
Panther runningback Shadrach Thornton rushed for 137 yards in the Panthers 21-20 win in OT against Burke County Friday night. - photo by Phgoto by Patty Leon

Liberty County’s football game against Burke County came down to the wire Friday night as the Panthers managed their second consecutive overtime victory, beating the Bears 21-20 and clinching third place in Region 3-AAA.

According to Panther head coach Kirk Warner, the match was a battle between two solid defenses and offenses. Warner said the Panthers were up 14-7 at the half, but a few costly plays put the Bears back in the game,

He said his team tried for a lengthy field goal by Eddie Chipple to get the win in regulation, but missed and forced overtime.

"We won the toss, but elected to give them the ball first and they scored," the coach said. "We made our drive count by scoring as well, and we decided to go for the 2-point conversion and the win. And we edged them out."

The offense had 48 carries for 198 rushing yards and Panther quarterback Julian Stokes was 2 of 9 for 45-yards passing. Stokes had 11 carries for 41-yards and sophomore Shadrach Thornton rushed for 137 yards in 32 carries. Tucory Rhodes carried the ball once for 13-yards, Mike Rodriguez rushed for 7-yards and Sinjin Mullis had a 5-yard reception.

The coach said the defense helped them in their victory.

"Our defense held them to only 14 points in regulation," he said. "And then our offense scored when we had to."

The victory locked up third, but the Panthers can try for second place by beating Baldwin at home next week.

Washington County and Baldwin are both 3-0 in the region. The Panthers are 3-1. The game is also the Panthers’ senior night.

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