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Panthers seeking first region win as Johnson visits
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 The Liberty County Panthers can get right back into the race for a Region 3-AAA playoff spot Friday night.

The Panthers, 0-1 in the region, host Johnson on Friday night. The Atom Smashers, 2-2 overall, are coming off a 20-9 win over Beach.

Isaiah Scott ran for 199 yards and two touchdowns in an 18-12 win over Brantley County for the Atom Smashers’ first win of the year. Johnson lost its opener 26-0 to McIntosh County Academy and fell 10-7 to Windsor Forest. MCA notched two safeties in its win over the Smashers.

Calvary Day, ranked No. 2 in most Class AAA polls, asserted its lofty regard with a 57-7 win over the Panthers at M.C. Anderson Field.

Field position again did not favor the Panthers. The Cavaliers started their first five possessions at midfield or in Panthers’ territory. Their worst starting field position for any drive was their own 30-yard line.

The Cavs ran only five plays on their side of the 50 for the entire game.

Calvary standout quarterback Jake Merklinger threw for 148 yards and three touchdowns, one each to Michael Smith, Caden Arnold and Thomas Blackshear before exiting the game in the second quarter.

Freshman James Mobley completed the Cavs’ scoring with a 13-yard TD pass to fellow freshman Marlon Knight in the third quarter.

Of their 10 possessions, the Cavs punted once. With a running clock, the Panthers ran only one play on offense in the fourth quarter, which ended in a fumble. Calvary ran out the remaining time to end the game.

Calvary finished with 235 yards rushing to go with 165 passing yards. Edward Coleman had two touchdown runs, including one of 43 yards, and Trevor Stowbridge and Jordan Tillman also added TD runs.

The Panthers scored on their opening possession of the second half as Jeremiah Payne made an over the shoulder catch of Carlos Singleton’s 30-yard strike, keeping his balance to remain inside the pylon.

Calvary’s defense stopped a Panthers threat late in the first quarter. Singleton hit Ryan Golden for a 54-yard gain to the Cavaliers 22, but on third down from the 10, Amare Drew stepped in front of Singleton’s pass to Golden at the goal line and raced 75 yards the other way. 

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