Valdosta Daily Times

Local Sports

September 4, 2013

Vikings offense making strides

VALDOSTA — In the wake of the dismantling of the Luella Lions last Friday, the Lowndes Vikings are happy with the progression of their offense early on.

The Vikings entered the 2013 season with high expectations and state championship dreams dancing in their collective minds, but fans had to wonder if inexperience at the skill positions would limit how far Lowndes could go.

After one game, the offense showed that it wouldn’t take a permanent back seat to the defense.

Coming into the season, the Vikings knew they would have to lean on a deep and talented offensive line.

Most teams can only dream of having the type of experience Lowndes possesses on their line with four returning starters.

Brian Roe, Curtis Hargrett, C.J. Schell and Cole Rigdon all saw significant time up front a season ago. The only new starter for the Vikings is a great one.

Dyshon Sims has already been recruited to join the Georgia Bulldogs next summer, but this season he anchors the right tackle position for Lowndes after a transfer from archrival Valdosta.

The Vikings offensive line looked solid against Luella on Friday.

The offensive line consistently got pushed in the run

game, rolling up 201 yards on the ground as they simply

wore down the smaller Lions front.

“I thought the offensive line did a good job,” said Lowndes head coach Randy McPherson. “We moved the ball well, I thought we threw the ball well. We had some drops and some penalties, but I think overall it was a good first day for the offense.”

McPherson looks for the

offensive line to pace Lowndes as the rest of the offense

grows up following the departures of Nick Burgman,

Kenny Moore, and Alex Stephenson, at runningback, wide receiver, and quarterback respectively.

With the holes created by the line, Lowndes looks like it may have more options in the backfield than any season in recent memory despite Burgman’s graduation.

Ahman Brown looked good in the season debut as he picked up 50 yards to go along with a couple of short touchdowns, while Alex Brown added 56 yards of his own.

The Vikings have a bit of a logjam of talent at the fullback position, but each player has something to contribute to the offense as well.

Jerome Daniels looked

electric in the open-field on

Friday night, but when Lowndes needed some tough yards, they called Arvin Berry’s number and he rewarded them with some gritty runs and a short touchdown.

Linebacker Nathan Brantley had a few productive carries against the Lions, prompting the coaches to call his number a few more times, and fellow linebacker Tre Jackson didn’t carry the ball much Friday, but he will also receive carries when the offense needs a big play.

A strong running game out of the Wing-T and a stingy defense has been enough to win a few championships at Lowndes, but the offensive line will also be key in the passing game to provide the type of balance on offense which could be the difference in a good season and a state title.

Sophomore quarterback Austin Dixon won a tough

battle for the starting spot this

summer and with a clean

pocket provided to him against Luella, Dixon was able to

show off the big arm that has the coaching staff excited about his potential.

With plenty of time in the pocket, Dixon took three shots deep down-field against the Lions each time to Malik Roberts who was able to blow the top off the defense on multiple occasions.

The first deep ball was underthrown to a wide open target, but if it wasn’t for a drop and an 81-yard touchdown called back for a hold,

Dixon would have had a big game through the air on Friday.

If Dixon can just connect on a few of those deep passes, opposing defenses will have to honor deep ball, keeping a safety out of the box and opening things up for the Vikings run game.

Each year, Lowndes plays tough defense while wearing a team out by grinding out yards on the ground.

With another stacked defense, if the Viking’s young

offense can come together, a deep playoff run looks to be likely.

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