VALDOSTA — ESPN loves Lowndes High School.
The consensus number one high school football team in Georgia’s Class AAAAA helped the city of Valdosta win ESPN’s TitleTown USA contest in July. And now the Vikings find themselves ranked second in the ESPNRISE.com Fab 50 preseason high school football poll.
Being ranked No. 2 in the nation is a big honor for Lowndes.
“I have never been one to look at polls or study them, but it is an honor, and it would be hard to say the kids don’t deserve it,” Lowndes head coach Randy McPherson said. “We’re proud of it, but we still haven’t won a game.”
Lowndes is the defending state AAAAA champion and is riding a 14-game winning streak dating back to last season. The Vikings earned the No. 2 ranking not just because of last season, but also because of the potential they have this season. With seven starters on each side of the ball returning, and key players like Greg Reid, Gerald Demps and Khary Franklin taking the field, expectations are high.
“You’re expected if you play here to go out and play as hard as you can, and that’s all you can ask of a kid,” McPherson said. “Everything else is just a circumstance.”
Trinity High School in Euless, Texas earned the top spot on the ESPNRISE.com FAB 50 list. Last year, the Trojans went 15-1 and won the 5A-I championship.
Two other schools from Georgia cracked the top 50, both of whom are Class AAAAA schools. Camden County is ranked No. 21, while Warner Robins Northside is No. 47. Lowndes eliminated Camden County in the state AAAAA semifinals last season in the Georgia Dome. Northside went 15-0 last season on its way to the state AAAA title.
This season, Northside will play in Region 1-AAAAA with Lowndes and Valdosta.
Earlier this month, Lowndes was ranked No. 3 in the National Prep Poll’s preseason rankings.
Lowndes will get its first chance to take the field at 8 p.m. Friday at Martin Stadium in a scrimmage against another powerful South Georgia program, Thomas County Central.
“TCC is always going to be hard to beat. Always,” said McPherson. “They are very well coached, and have a great scheme. We’ll know how far along we are after that scrimmage, without a doubt.”
The Yellow Jackets lost to Ware County by a field goal, 10-7, in the AAAA state semifinals last year.
According to lowndesfootball.com, the junior varsity teams will play the first quarter of the scrimmage. The scoreboard will then be cleared and the varsity teams will take the field for the final three quarters.
So far, McPherson is pleased with his team’s development, but says there’s still a lot of work to do.
“We’re ahead of where we were last year at this time, as far as what we can do,” McPherson said. “But we still have some holes we have to fill from last year. It’s really too early to tell how good we’re going to be. We have a bunch of kids who want to win and will give it all they got.”
Lowndes opens the regular season at 8 p.m. Aug. 29 at Martin Stadium against Woodland.
VALDOSTA — ESPN loves Lowndes High School.
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