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Panthers too much for Blue Tide
Picture 1 by Sheldon Whitfield   Photography
Liberty Countys Kris Coleman looks for a way around Long County defenders DeShaun Dixon (13) and Holden Riddle (73). - photo by Photo by Sheldon Whitfield Photography

Liberty County rolled over Long County 62-6 Friday night.

Playing in Ludowici, the Panthers put up 55 points in the first half and never looked back, notching their third 2-AAA region win of the year.

For the Blue Tide their misfortunes continue as they fell to 0-3 in the region and 0-8 overall. Liberty County, which is ranked No. 16 in the state, according to MaxPreps, improved their overall record to 5-3.

The game began with Liberty County’s Kris Coleman scoring on the Panther’s first possession by scampering in for a 52-yard touchdown. After Alex Sutton’s kick split the uprights, the visitors were up 7-0.

Long County got the ball back after the kick at their own 15 yard line. But after one first down they were forced to punt. On the punt return, Liberty County fumbled and Long County pounced on it at the Panther 35 yard line. But the Blue Tide offense was again unable to capitalize on the good field position. After three plays they were forced to punt.

Liberty County began their possession deep in their own territory. On the first play from scrimmage, the Panthers handed the ball off to Coleman, but Blue Tide defensive tackle Holden Riddle hit the ball carrier forcing a fumble.

An alert Treyon Davis fell on the rock, giving Long County another possession.

Two plays later, with a big hole opened by offensive linemen Isaac Abram and Lorenzo Buckner, Blue Tide running back E.J. Crawford pounded the ball into the end-zone. Long County missed the conversion attempt making the score 7-6 Liberty County.

Things got ugly for the home team after that. Liberty County scored on their next three possessions with Desmond Brown rushing for a 13-yard TD, Jaleel Gilbert scoring on a 43-yard reception, and Coleman scoring on a 9-yard run to put Liberty County up 27-6.

Coleman added two more scores before the half, and the Panther’s also had a pick-six by Cleon Hamilton, and a blocked punt returned for a score by Brown.

In the second half, Liberty County got the ball first, but a stout and determined Long County defense, led by Hunter Sizemore, Quentin Facen, and Gavin McNeel shut the visitors down on their opening drive giving the Blue Tide the ball back at their own 20. With hard running by Crawford, Christian Bass and Jarvis Dudley, Long County moved the ball down the field but the drive ended with a fumble deep in Liberty territory.

On the next play, the Liberty runner saw a hole and rambled down for a 90-yard TD. The Blue Tide’s next offensive possession stalled and the Panthers had the ball again at their own 34. Once again, Long County’s defense, led by Cody Cox, Hunter McPherson, and M’Kiyah Folston-Anderson, bore down, forcing Liberty County to punt. The Blue Tide got the ball one more time, but were unable to move the ball making the final score 62-6.

Next Friday, Liberty County plays Brantley County in Nahunta. Long County heads to Reidsville to take on Tattnall County. Both games kickoff at 7:30.

Cory Bates contributed to this story.

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