Panthers face Class 1A powerhouse

Published 3:16 pm Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Georgiana School knows exactly what it is up against Friday night.

The Panthers will face Class 1A powerhouse Brantley High School.

The Bulldogs, who have won 10 region championships since 2000 and three of the last four, are off to a 3-0 start this season and own the state’s No. 5 ranking.

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They are outscoring their opponents 131-14 and are scoring nearly 44 points per game.

“Brantley is as good on film as any team I’ve seen this year,” Georgiana head coach David Watts said. “They have great players all over the field.”

According to Watts, that includes the sidelines.

“When they put their backups in, it’s hard to see much of a drop off,” he said.

But as good as Brantley is, the Panthers have bigger concerns.

In last week’s 62-14 loss to Geneva County, freshman quarterback Jacquez Payton dislocated and fractured his thumb, which will sideline him for this week’s contest. To make matters worse, Payton was moved to quarterback from his wide receiver position after senior quarterback Devin Bonner suffered an injured foot during the Panthers’ loss to McKenzie a week earlier. Bonner is still questionable for Friday’s game.

“Being on our third quarterback is obviously not ideal,” Watts said. “When we move anybody to quarterback we are taking a starter from somewhere else, so that makes us thin at another position.”

If Bonner is unable to play, sophomore Alen Smith will handle the signal caller duties for Georgiana.

With all the changes to their lineup, Watts said the Panthers can’t afford to spend too much time thinking about their opponent, but must instead focus on themselves.

“Brantley is very secondary for us right now,” he said. “We need to get better as a team, get healthy and try to have a good run down the stretch. Our season isn’t over by any stretch and our kids know that. We are going to keep working hard and improve.”

Georgiana (0-3, 0-2 Class 1A, Region 2) and Brantley (3-0, 2-0 Class 1A, Region 2) will square off at 7 p.m. at Brantley Stadium.