Liberty County High School held its Black vs. Gold spring football scrimmage Friday afternoon at Donell Woods Stadium, giving Panther football fans a glimpse of the season to come.
Most likely would agree the future looks pretty good.
The Panthers will be senior- and junior-heavy at the skill positions, including their 2014 Player of the Year, Jacquez Williams; starting quarterback Jaalon Frazier; four-star national prospect Richard LeCounte; another top prospect in Jacari Roberts; defensive muscle Calvin Holmes; and veterans Tracey White, Traveon Freeman, Dashaun Hudson, Michael Guy and Jeremiah Gilbert.
LCHS head coach Kirk Warner said he has a few surprises coming this season, such as another freshman who likely will get some early playing time and some junior-varsity players who have earned the right to move up the ladder.
Warner said there are spots that need some attention during the summer.
“Our (offensive line) is still a work in progress, but compared to last year we are ahead of the curve,” he said. “As for our defense, we expect them to be ahead of the game this time of year, and we will rely on our defense early on.”
Among the notable players on the field is sophomore Tremel Walthour. After playing about nine games last season as a freshman, Walthour has grown and already is on the scouts’ radar.
“We always knew he had the measurable size … I mean he is a (6-foot, 3-inch) and 250 pounds upcoming sophomore. … He did play some ball for us last year but wasn’t quite ready to make a difference. But he’s been in the weight room and he got stronger. He could thank Richard and Jacquez. We had over 45 scouts come through here between last week and this week and he caught their eye, so they plan to start following him.”
The coach said Richardson, who missed most of last season after suffering an injury in the first game against Bradwell, was back in true form. Warner said Richardson didn’t get a chance to participate in spring training because he was preparing in the state track meet.
“He missed spring, but based on track I don’t think he is showing any ill effects from it. … He is running just as fast,” Warner said.
The scrimmage had a loose format, with both starters and reserves each receiving playing time. The first-stringers looked solid in tackling, running the ball and calling plays they had just two weeks to review.
In the first play from scrimmage Friday, Walthour stuffed the run at the line, drawing approval from the crowd. Frazier had a few completions, including one to LeCounte who made a quick move to the outside and ran for a touchdown. LeCounte, as expected, played offense and defense.
The scrimmage didn’t showcase special teams; Warner said they know they need to work on that during the summer. But he added there was another aspect of the offense that requires immediate improvement.
“We didn’t run special teams and that is a big thing, but we have to throw to our receivers a little bit more and be more consistent in our throws from our quarterbacks,” he said.
Frazier took most of the snaps at QB on Friday, with last year’s JV quarterback Aaron Kuhl showing promise as the backup.
Warner said there will be some competition come summer for the QB spot, especially for the JV team.
“We have a couple of young guys that did not participate enough in the spring to play today, but hopefully, they come this summer and give us some good junior-varsity QBs,” he said.
On Friday, LeCounte sauntered off the field, talking to Frazier about his passing skills and receiving routes. He then grabbed his fellow defensive players and talked strategy and where they failed on the field and how to improve.
The coach knows he has a strong leader in LeCounte.
“And when all else fails, give LeCounte the ball,” Warner said, smiling.