Liberty County will hit the road for its only Saturday night game of the season, traveling to Albany to play Monroe.
The Tornadoes are 1-2, but Panther coach Kirk Warner knows better than to take them for granted.
“I don’t know who made this schedule,” Warner joked, knowing the Albany team will be tough. “We saw a little bit of film on them when we were scouting the West-over game last year. They are athletic and have a huge offensive line. If we were to compare it to a team we’ve already played, it would be Effingham.”
The Panthers lost to Effingham County, 35-7, Aug. 22 at Donell Woods Stadium in their first game of the season. Liberty played that game without team leaders Walker Franklin and Richard LeCounte. But even with those key players available and a mostly healthy team, Warner said they can’t go into Hugh Mills Stadium and play like they did in last week’s 44-13 loss to Benedictine at home.
“We came out flat, and I’m not going to take anything away from them,” Warner said about that loss. “They are a great team, and we just didn’t come out and match their intensity. We got behind the eight ball early on. We played a little better in the second half, but you can’t get that far behind in the first half against a team like BC and expect to win.”
Franklin’s return has sparked the Panthers’ passing game. He has 255 of the Panthers’ 454 yards to go with three touchdown passes. The senior also has rushed for 61 yards in two games.
Four games into the season, the Panthers have 680 rushing yards, led by JaMarcus Latson’s 273 yards with two touchdowns. Jacques Williams has 163 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
Gyri Durant has 14 receptions for 204 yards. Williams has four touchdowns off nine receptions for 130 yards. Latson has four receptions for 75 yards and a touchdown.
LeCounte has made some plays offensively. Notably, he tossed a 39-yard touchdown pass. But the all-around athlete also has made big plays on the defensive side of the ball. In two games, he has one interception for 26 yards returned, a fumble recovery and two pass deflections. He returned one punt for 30 yards and has 19 total tackles.
The Panther defense is led in tackles by Jacarri Roberts with 31. Brandon Course has 28, Calvin Holmes 26, Tucker Lyda has 23, Joaquin Lemapu has 21 and Deshawn Hudson has 20.
Tracy White has 19 tackles and four kickoff returns for 105 yards.
The Tornadoes’ two losses came at the hands of Perry (21-14) and Bainbridge High (7-6). Monroe team handled Terrell County, 34-0.