Liberty County and Long County enter Friday’s night game at Donell Woods Stadium with much in common – the same Region 3-AAA records, for starters.
While the state’s No. 1-ranked team, Calvary Day, appears headed to another region title, Savannah Christian and Savannah Country Day are just one game behind. And Country Day holds an advantage over both Liberty and Long, which are one game behind the Raiders and Hornets – Country Day has beaten both the Panthers and the Blue Tide.
Calvary has the tiebreaker on the Raiders, having defeated them earlier this season, and Christian has a similar leg up on Country Day.
The Hornets face Calvary Day on Friday night, so it appears five teams are in the running for four playoff spots. And in essence, with Calvary Day and Savannah Christian’s head-to-head tiebreakers, it may be three playing for two.
With Country Day’s wins over Liberty and Long, tonight’s game could solidify the region’s four playoff spots.
Long still has Groves and Calvary on its schedule, and the Panthers face Beach and No. 5-ranked Savannah Christian to round out the regular season.
“There are no guarantees,” Panthers coach Tony Glazer said after the loss to SCD. “Like last year, all that stuff went down at the end of the year.”
The region had the week off last week, and the Panthers (2-5) enter the game after a 38-14 loss at home to the Hornets. The Blue Tide improved to 4-3 with a 58-29 win over Beach.
Long County beat the Bulldogs without star running back Ahmari Douglas, who has rushed for 625 yards and eight touchdowns. Sophomore Cortney Charles picked up the slack, running 13 times for 189 yards in Douglas’ stead.
Quarterback Jashaun Manghane has thrown for 730 yards and eight touchdowns. Keshawn Smith leads the Blue Tide in receptions with 16 and receiving yards with 344.
Junior linebacker Kenny Pickens has 75 tackles, eight for losses, to top the Blue Tide defense.
Liberty’s offense, held in check the first four games of the season, has scored more than 32 points per game over the last three contests. Quarterback Carlos Singleton has thrown for 852 yards and seven TDs. Jeremiah Payne, averaging 28.8 yards per catch, has a team-best three touchdown receptions. Jaden Hurd has a team-high 227 yards receiving on 13 catches and Ron Golden’s 22 catches lead the way. Golden has 205 yards receiving.
Desmond Brown’s 54 stops lead the Panthers, and Audric Whitfield’s six tackled behind the line of scrimmage leads the Panthers.