Liberty County has a big battle Friday as the Panthers host Burke County in a Region 3-AAAA contest.
Last week against Thomson, Burke County (5-1) held the normally high-scoring Bulldog team to only 20 points in its 26-20 win in Waynesboro.
“They run a 4-3 defense, and they are aggressive,” Liberty County head coach Kirk Warner said. “They are not big up front, but they are aggressive, and they are obviously good on D to keep Thomson to only 20 points.”
The Bears rushed for 399 yards as part of their 1,337 rushing yards with 17 touchdowns on the season. Burke’s offense is 60-of-120 passing for 775 yards and three touchdowns coming into Friday’s game. The Bears employ two successful quarterbacks in senior Keenan Parker and Caleed Roberson. Parker has 444 passing yards, and Roberson has 331 yards.
Roberson also leads the rushing game with 476 yards and six touchdowns, with Parker coming in second at 319 yards and seven touchdowns.
Boisey Lewis is leading the Bears in receptions with nine for 153 yards.
“They run a multiple offense, and they have probably 15-16 formations … we have to be mentally and physically ready going into this game,” Warner said. “Our offense has to move the ball and get the first downs, and our defense has to play aggressive and hopefully knock the ball loose and give us good field position.”
The coach added that special teams also will play a big role.
“Whoever has better field position throughout the will probably have a hand up in winning,” he said.
Liberty (4-2 overall, 1-0 in region) has shown balance on offense. The Panthers are 61-of-127 passing for 1,072 yards for eight touchdowns with 1,271 rushing yards for eight touchdowns. Jacquez Williams leads the way with 406 rushing yards and four touchdowns.
Richard LeCounte has spent plenty of time on both sides of the ball, earning 338 rushing yards and a touchdown. Elisha Polite has 225 rushing yards for two touchdowns.
LeCounte leads the team in receptions with 16 for 392 yards and three touchdowns. Polite has 15 receptions for 237 yards and two touchdowns, while Williams has 13 catches good for 196 yards and a touchdown.
Warner added that the bye week gave them an opportunity to heal the wounds after physically draining games against Benedictine and Wayne County.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.