By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Panthers topped by Cadets
Liberty County defensive back Richard LeCounte (4) goes up to stop Benedictine receiver Brad Stewart on Friday night at Donell Woods Stadium. - photo by John Wood

Changing regions came at a cost for Liberty County High School. Panther head football coach Kirk Warner was forced to find teams to replace the sub-region Augusta teams — and Savannah powerhouse Benedictine obliged.
The Panthers fell to Class AA’s third-ranked team, 44-13, Friday night at Donell Woods Stadium.
The Cadets had not hit a team in another colored jersey for nearly a month, but it was hard to tell Friday as the visitors raced to a big halftime lead and were never threatened.
“We knew that the quarterback and receiver (Brad) Stewart were the real deal, but after three weeks off you weren’t sure what to expect. Tonight, they were much more hungrier,” Warner said. “Certainly, Benedictine is a good team that plays really good football. Not taking anything from them, but we didn’t play well tonight. We have got to get better from the players, to the coaches, managers. We just have to learn to work harder and smarter.” 

Benedictine established the pace of the game, and the Panthers just couldn’t get on track.
After falling behind, 7-0, Liberty’s offense was stagnant as the Cadets’ defensive front clogged the line of scrimmage. BC quarterback Stevie Powers added a second touchdown at the end of the first, airing out a 41-yard pass to Stewart to extend the lead to 13-0.
Being forced to the perimeter, Liberty found limited success with jet sweeps. But Benedictine increased pressure on the perimeter with its linebackers and secondary, flowing hard to the run. Benedictine held Liberty to 49 rushing yards and a meager 137 total yards. Running back Jamarques Latson was the Panthers’ leading rusher with 41 yards on 16 carries.
Liberty also struggled in the passing game, as Benedictine claimed three interceptions. The Cadets continued to put together lengthy scoring drives on the ground and in the air to take a 34-0 lead at halftime. Powers finished 249 yards through the air with four touchdown passes, all of which went for 20-plus yards.
Liberty showed occasional progress, but after picking up a rare first down, the Panthers were marred by turnovers.
The Panthers offense showed signs of life and, with the aid of Cadet penalties, duct-taped together a scoring drive in the third quarter. On fourth-and-15, Liberty quarterback Walker Franklin hit Latson with a 20-yard scoring strike to get Liberty on the scoreboard. However, the 2-point conversion attempt failed.
Later, Liberty’s Anthony Stewart picked up a Cadet fumble in the final quarter and rumbled for 72 yards, breaking away from the pack the final 25 yards into the end zone for a rare defensive lineman’s moment of touchdown glory. Joapuin Lemapu added the point-after kick.
“We played decent in spots tonight. Nothing consistent,” Warner said. “We moved the ball a little bit, but not the way we are capable of. Defensively, we had a play or two, here or there, but nothing we need to do to win games. You can’t beat anyone with inconsistent play or as many turnovers as we did tonight. Those turnovers magnify when you play a team like Benedictine.”
Fans did get to see a matchup between Panthers standout sophomore defensive back Richard LeCounte and Stewart. Stewart finished with a pair of touchdowns and a pick as a safety.
Life doesn’t get any easier for the 2-2 Panthers this week, as they travel to Monroe Area High School in Albany in a nonregion contest on Saturday.

Sign up for our e-newsletters