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Panthers show promise during summer drills
Liberty camp 1
Liberty County coach Kirk Warner looks on as the Panthers run a drill during a recent summer pride workout. - photo by Photo by John Wood

June was a busy month for the Liberty County Panthers football team.

The team started its summer pride workouts, which have seen the Panthers average about
85 players four mornings a week.

The coaching staff also hosted a kids’ camp for ages 6-12. In recent years, Liberty had had trouble fitting the youth camp into a tight summer schedule.

However, this summer, Panthers head coach Kirk Warner made it a priority. For three evenings, 30 campers got to find out what it was like to do the drills and learn to play football the way the Panthers do.

“This was our first season to do our PantherNation kids camp in a few years,” he said. “I was glad to see us get back to it. It’s fun to get out here with these kids and see them start to learn the fundamentals of the game. I can remember when we did our first camp. We had several players that we have playing for us now, including Richard LeCounte.”

LeCounte’s breakout freshman year started to set him apart from the crowd. Though only a junior, LeCounte remains a hot commodity, but the flow of college coaches through Liberty’s spring practice also has resulted in some of his teammates being recruited.
In the past few weeks, Panthers defensive end Jaccari Roberts — who led the Panthers defense with 103 tackles, seven sacks and
10 tackles for loss — has been a major target of Wake Forest University. Running back Jacquez Williams has given Wake Forest his verbal commitment.

Liberty also is trying to discern the meaning of the new contact rule that the National Federation of High School Associations created and all state governing organizations, including the Georgia High School Association, adopted. The new rule limits teams to 90 minutes of full contact each week.

“No one is really sure what their definition of full contact is, and I am sure it will come out as teams get ready to start fall practice,” Warner said. “That is one reason why a lot of us trying to get in as many pad camps as we can find close.”

The Panthers attended the same Ware County defensive-pad camp that Bradwell did last week.

“It was a really great camp for us. During the summer, the emphasis is on getting stronger in the weight room and getting faster, but we don’t get a chance to put on pads that much and especially go against other teams and that gets kids motivated to work harder in the weight room,” Panthers defensive coordinator Tony Glazer said.

Liberty ended up getting an opportunity to compete against some of the better teams in south Georgia, such as perennial AAAAAA powers Camden County and Valdosta along with host Ware, Coffee County and Brunswick.

“This was certainly a great chance for us to learn to compete against some good teams,” Glazer said. “Judging from what we saw, we (weren’t) as big on the line, but we could compete with those teams from the speed and skill positions. Being able to hit in June is going to allow us to better understand where players can fit and what players can help us come August.”

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