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Warner pleased with spring
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With the completion of spring football practice Friday, Liberty County High School coach Kirk Warner thought the early session went great.
There was a heavy turnout for the Panthers, who accomplished their first winning season in school history last year going 7-3.
At some point during the two weeks of spring practice, 82 players participated. Warner said they averaged 65 a day in the second week, compared to an average of 30 a day the first week.
Warner credited the spike to players obtaining a free physical on April 28 and the conclusion of spring sports.
“The turnout was pleasing and so was the way the young guys came out and worked,” he said. “We’re focusing on the first-year players and getting the incoming ninth graders acclimated without the heavy hitting.”
After practice Friday, the LCHS Booster Club treated the players and coaches to hot dogs and hamburgers, while welcoming new parents and encouraging them to join the boosters.
For students wanting to play football, Warner said it’s not too late to join the team. The Panthers start summer weightlifting June 12, from 6-8 p.m. at LCHS’s gym. To participate, players need an updated physical.
The Panthers don’t strap on the pads until the first day of school, Aug. 6.
Warner said during the past two weeks, he was impressed with the team’s quickness and comprehension. However, he said it’s a different story once the pads are on and players start hitting.
“They listen well and are very coachable and that’s all you can ask for,” he said. “I hope we can use the summer to get physically stronger and mentally tougher and see how we can combine the two and make some football players this upcoming season.”
The key position of quarterback is still open for the Panthers. Last year’s starting quarterback Robert Walsh graduates in May and four students are vying for the position.
Rising freshman Matt Desbiens, rising sophomore Juilan Stokes, rising junior Demetrius Stinson and rising senior Henry Barrett all have a chance to start, according to Warner.
The graduation of Donovan Kates could present some problems in the backfield, but Warner is confident in Roderick Jones and said Dimitri Lane may play in the backfield too.
When asked what stood out the most in spring practice, Warner said rising junior Stephen Preheballo at tight end and the offensive line.
“Stephen has really improved. He’s bigger and stronger and he will help us out at tight end,” Warner said. “The entire offensive line has impressed me with how hard they have worked in the weight room. They are physically bigger and stronger and are the strength of our team this year.”
Panther football key dates:
June 12:  summer workouts
Aug. 6:  first day of school, first day of full contact
Aug. 24: scrimmage vs. Westminster at Lewis Frasier Middle School
Aug. 31: season starts at McIntosh County Academy in Darien.
Sept. 21: home season starts against Calvary Day School

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