PEARSON — Lanier County has had three new head coaches in the last three seasons. Luckily for the Bulldogs, each of those coaches has gotten to open against Atkinson County. Phillip Johnson became the newest Lanier County head coach to begin his Bulldogs career with a win over the Rebels, leading Lanier County to a 13-6 victory on Friday night. “Honestly it’s great (to get my first win),” Johnson said. “The kids came out in the second half and took care of the football. Offensively we made some big plays, and the defense stepped up and played well all night. It’s a great feeling, and we’re looking forward to Long (County) next week.” Heavy rain poured over the field before the game, resulting in the Bulldogs and Rebels battling on a sloppy, rain-soaked field, which clearly took its toll on the offenses. Both teams turned the ball over numerous times in the game. The Bulldogs fumbled three times in the half while the Rebels tossed three interceptions and lost a couple fumbles of their own. The first points of the game weren’t scored until a Lanier County touchdown with seven minutes remaining in the game on a two-yard run by Austin Davis. Lanier County failed on the two-point conversion attempt, which left the score 6-0. After the Bulldogs’ score, Atkinson finally found some offensive success of their own, scoring a touchdown, and failing on a two-point conversion attempt as well. The Bulldogs received the ball with under two minutes remaining in the game and their offense continued rolling. Lanier County drove within field goal range, but the kicker was not needed. Demitrius Williams hauled in a 25-yard touchdown pass with 15 seconds left on the clock. Despite getting the win, Johnson cannot be pleased with his team’s ability to hold onto the ball in the first half on Friday. Before the game, Johnson identified ball security as one of the keys to winning after fumbling six times in a scrimmage a week ago and the Bulldogs coughed up the ball three more times in the first half. “We still had two or three there in the first half, and we didn’t have any in the second half; that’s the difference in the game,” said Johnson. “We can’t use the weather as an excuse at all. A lot of the times it’s guys making plays, but we’ve got to put an emphasis on ball security.” Johnson will attempt to match last season’s win total when Lanier County faces the Long County Blue Tide.
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Former Blazer Kugbila out for season
Now, after missing the 2013 season with a knee injury, this signals another hardship for the promising guard.
Two Lowndes grads sign scholarships
Lowndes graduates Henry Hoff and Nick Higginbotham decided to take the next step in their respective baseball careers together on Thursday as both signed a letter-of-intent with Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton.
In its final 7-on-7 test of the summer, Randy McPherson was pleased with how the Lowndes football team looked Wednesday morning.
Brooks County coach Maurice Freeman, on the other hand, was worried about the kind of hole the Trojans would have dug for themselves at Martin Stadium against the Vikings and Lafayette (Fla.) had it been a real game.
Grable signs with Tampa Bay
Another former Valdosta State football player joined the ranks of the National Football League when linebacker Jeremy Grable signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Wednesday morning.
Just Keep Running
Forrest Gump once said, "I used to run to get to where I was going, but I never thought it would take me anywhere." In the case of 18 year-old Mary Alice Smoot, anywhere is Tampa, Fla.
After four years of unparalleled success running cross-country at Valwood, Smoot will continue running competitively next season at the University of Tampa.
DKSA Elite win USSSA Global World Series
DKSA ELITE just continues to win, the 10U team’s latest victory came in the USSSA Global World Series held in Destin, Fla. July 8-12.
Milestones on tap for upcoming season
Some milestones are destined to occur, like when Georgia Christian hosts David Emanuel on Aug. 22 in the Generals’ first varsity football game since the late 1960s.
Others will have to wait and see what continues to take shape come Friday when teams can begin fall practice, and especially Aug. 1 when teams can suit up in pads for the first time, such as can Valdosta win its record 24th state title, or can Lowndes capture its fourth state championship under Randy McPherson, or can Valwood and coach Ashley Henderson play in its third straight GISA state championship game?
As we start to find out the answers to those questions in just a few short weeks — the regular season is just 31 days away — there should be a few more milestones for area coaches to mark 2014 right along with the Generals getting back on the gridiron.
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