Valdosta Daily Times

Sports

October 1, 2010

Valwood heads to SGA for region game

VALDOSTA — Valwood hits the road tonight, in search of a big region victory.

The Valiants, who are 5-0, travel to Damascus tonight to battle Southwest Georgia Academy. Game time is 7:30 p.m.

Valwood and SGA are both 1-0 in GISA Region 2-AA, and share first place with Arlington Christian.

“It’s a big rivalry game, and a big region game,” Valwood head coach Brannon Tidwell said. “It’s a big challenge for us, but these are the games you want to play in.”

Southwest Georgia Academy enters the game 3-1. The Warriors lost their season opener by one point to Westwood (19-18), but have won their last three games. Among those victories were a 40-14 win over Randolph Southern and a 58-21 rout of Harvester Christian.

“They’ve got a good football team,” Tidwell said. “They’ve got some good players. No. 1, Cody Buckhalter, is a good player. Their quarterback, Dillon Driver, is a dual threat quarterback that can beat you throwing the ball or running it. They’ve got a good running back, Taylor Tabb, and the fullback’s his brother, Troupe Tabb. They’ve got plenty of weapons to get the ball to.

“Coach (David) Bell does a good job. He’ll have them ready to play.”

SGA bases its offense out of the I formation. On defense, the Warriors use a 5-2 front.

“(On defense), they’re not very big, but they’re quick,” Tidwell said. “They play with a lot of heart.”

What does Valwood have to do to win tonight?

“We’ve got to make sure we line up right on defense. Tackling Taylor Tabb is going to be big. We can’t commit a lot of penalties, and we can’t turn the ball over,” Tidwell said.

Southwest Georgia Academy is located in Damascus, a tiny town of 277 people (according to the 2000 U.S. census) in Early County, about 20 miles from the Alabama border. It’s only about an 80-mile drive one-way, but it generally takes about 2.5 hours.

Valwood will be trying to get its first win in Damascus since 2000.

“It’s a tough place to play,” Tidwell said.

Despite the long trip, the Valiants should have good fan support. A charter bus will be taking Valwood fans to the game.

So far, it’s been a tremendous year for the Valiants. One year after going 1-9, Valwood is 5-0 halfway through the regular season.

“We’re playing good,” Tidwell said. “We played a good team in Heritage (last week). The effort was good in all three phases.”

The Valiants have scored at least 46 points in each of their last four games. They beat Fullington Academy 54-16, Robert F. Munroe 46-41, Randolph Southern 47-6 and Heritage School 48-34.

One thing that Tidwell has been pleased with is the play of Valwood’s offensive line. He says that left tackle Matt Barnes, left guard Griffin Clyatt, center Jackson Pegg, right guard Allan Taylor and right tackle Aulden Bynum are all having real good years.

“Our offensive line is doing a very good job,” Tidwell said. “They enjoy it when we score touchdowns ... If you’re blocking on offense, you’ve got a chance.”

Valwood running back Alex Waldron, who has missed the past two games with an injury, is questionable for tonight’s game. Lineman Cameron Feinberg is also injured, and is not expected to play.

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