Samuel D. Logan
The Valdosta Daily Times
Both teams came into this battle undefeated. Only one could come away victorious.
The Brooks County Trojans came into the game prepared to win against a Wildcat team they beat last season; however, the Valdosta High Wildcats had another plan.
The Wildcats almost looked unstoppable in the first half of the game, both offensively and defensively. Brooks County put up a valiant fight, but could not maximize on certain opportunities throughout the game.
“We did some things that I knew if we did do, we would lose. We also lost the special teams battle,” said Brooks County Head Coach Maurice Freeman.
On offense, the team had 355 yards in total yardage, 200 coming from the ground alone. Senior running back Malcolm Joseph had 145 yards on the ground, in addition to a punt return touchdown, rushing touchdown and a plethora of long runs for big yardage.
“I feel real good. Last season, I didn’t get to gain rushing yards like that, so it feels good to be doing better than I was last year. With my long runs, that starts with the offensive line,” said running back Malcolm Joseph.
Joseph also mentioned that he plans on working on holding on to the ball in practice this week, as he had a fumble.
Nelson Herring also had a big game, rushing for 27 yards but gathering 82 yards on kickoffs and punt returns. Herring came away with a rushing touchdown and
also a kickoff return.
“We owed Brooks County from last year, so we had to come out and make a statement this year. The offensive line stepped up again. I just love my offensive line, and we will keep getting better,” said running back Nelson Herring.
“He’s a good football player. Everyone gets to see him on Friday nights, but what I don’t think people get to see is how much of a quality person he is off the field,” said Wildcats Coach Rance Gillespie.
The quarterbacks for the Wildcats, both Mac Loudermilk and Craig Berry, combined for 6-9, 135 yards for the night. This is a huge improvement from their performance last week. Craig Berry threw the only passing touchdown of the night to receiver Alex Cason.
Defensively, the team was great. They held their assignments and made good tackles. The defense was able to contain Malkom Parrish for the majority of the game. The Wildcat defense recovered two fumbles and forced four interceptions. Linebacker Terrell Roundtree had a remarkable game, with a sack, interception and fumble recovery.
“He is just a junior. He is a good football player that is still developing. He is a good athlete and becoming a better football player daily,” said Gillespie.
There were some penalty problems for the Wildcats that nullified a few drives for the Wildcats.
“We just have to be a more disciplined football team. There was probably 10 points in the first half that we could have had, but didn’t get due to a holding call or fumble,” said Gillespie.
Gillespie did not choose to comment on his team’s fumble issues. The team fumbled the ball six times, but only lost one.
On the first drive of the game, Brooks County Trojan quarterback Malkom Parrish threw a long pass to receiver Exavius Medlock for a first down on the first play of the game. It seemed as if the Trojans were on a drive to score, mixing the option and passing plays until Parrish was intercepted for the first time of the night by defensive back Tre Barrett.
On the first drive for the Valdosta High Wildcats, the offensive came out with a heavy run game plan. With runs from running back Nelson Herring and quarterback Mac Loudermilk, the Wildcats began their drive down the field. Receiver Alex Cason for the Wildcats got a few touches on the drive, one on a reviver screen for a first down and another long gain on a reverse. On the drive, Nelson Herring broke free off the line for a long touchdown run; however, it was nullified by a Wildcat penalty and the team was forced to punt.
After the Trojans got the ball back, the team ran the ball four straight plays before Parrish threw yet another interception, this time to sophomore defensive back Rashay March, which he returned for the first Wildcat touchdown of the night. On the extra point, the Wildcats elected to go for two and were able to convert.
The defense proceeded to make stops for the Wildcat team, containing Malkom Parrish, a recent commit to the University of Georgia at the cornerback position.
On the ensuing punt by the Trojans, the kick was returned 61 yards for a touchdown by none other than running back Malcolm Joseph for the Wildcats.
The Wildcat defense was very aggressive, causing Parrish and the Trojans to become flustered on the next drive. After a fumble by Parrish and two penalties by the Trojans, they were forced to punt on fourth and 35.
With the Wildcat offense finally getting back on the field late in the second quarter, Malcolm Joseph was able to score from the goal line with a nice run, making the score VHS 22, BC 0.
The only successful drive the Trojan team had in the first half came with six minutes left. Malkom Parrish threw a couple of long completions down field and even managed a 20-yard scramble to put his team in scoring position. From two yards out, sophomore running back Devon Wimms scored the Trojans' lone touchdown of the half, making the score VHS 22, BC 7.
After a 30-plus yard run by Wildcat running back Malcolm Joseph, the other threat at running back, Nelson Herring ran into the end zone on a four-yard carry, making the score VHS 29, BC 7.
The last four minutes of the second half was filled with penalties and turnovers.
Malkom Parrish threw a horrible interception to linebacker Terrell Roundtree. On the ensuing VHS drive, the Wildcats had three penalties to ultimately end that drive.
Malkom Parrish also had a fumble that was recovered by Valdosta’s sophomore linebacker Todd Bradley.
On the last Wildcat drive to close the half, Malcolm Joseph had a huge run to set up good field position for the Wildcats, before freshman tight end Khalil McClain fumbled the ball away to Brooks County.
With one more drive to go, Parrish threw a long bomb down the field and was intercepted for the fourth time by defensive back Joshua Norwood to close the half. On the last play, Parrish was hit as he threw and appeared shaken up on the play, with cramps.
The second half opened up with the Wildcats seeing more points, when a 78-yard pass from quarterback Craig Berry to receiver Alex Cason went for a touchdown.
After both teams had drives which saw them exchange fumbles, quarterback Malkom Parrish went out for a few plays with cramps. The backup for Brooks County, Demontay Jones, came into the game and connected with receiver Deric Herring. Taking advantage of momentum, Brooks County kicked and recovered an onside kick. With quarterback Parrish back in the game, he connected with receiver Deric Herring for Herring’s second touchdown reception of the night, after being troubled by a couple of drops on wide-open plays earlier in the game. The game was now VHS 36, BC 20.
Just when the Trojans felt they were coming back into the game, Nelson Herring returned the ensuing kickoff for a Wildcat touchdown.
The Wildcats scored once more before the game was over, with a run by Junior Jamal Tillman.
The final score was VHS 50, BC 20.