Valdosta Daily Times

Local Sports

September 27, 2013

McPherson and Propst face-off

VALDOSTA — Today has been marked on the calendar of the Lowndes Vikings, the Colquitt Packers, and the fan bases of both teams since the final whistle blew on the Vikings 17-14 victory a season ago. Rush Propst and the Packers are coming to Martin Stadium.

The series that has been made popular by the amount of drama and controversy to follow it the last few years can be broken down to this: Two legendary coaches, two good teams, one region title.

Lowndes has dominated the region over the last decade, winning three state championships as well as six region titles since Randy McPherson took over in 2002 behind the Wing-T offense and great defenses.

Since Propst’s arrival at Colquitt County in 2010, the Packers have also been one of the best teams in Georgia.

Propst has led the Packers to the state semifinals three out of the last four years, where they would fall to the eventual state champions. Colquitt lost to Grayson in its only championship game appearance in the stretch.

Before Propst’s arrival in Moultrie, he brought six state championships to Hoover in Alabama, so Propst has shown he can deliver on the biggest stage.

The Vikings will face their toughest test in weeks against the Packers after beating previous opponents Hardaway and Windsor Forest by a cumulative score of 150-0.

To make matters worse for Lowndes, Colquitt enjoyed a bye last week, so Propst took the opportunity to take in a game at Martin Stadium and get a feel for what the Vikings can do.

Propst could have used his visit to Lowndes as a way to get a live view of the Vikings schemes or it may have just as easily been a psychological tactic by a coach looking to get a leg up on a region competitor.

McPherson downplays the advantage of a live game compared to what most coaches already have at their disposal when it comes to game planning.

“Everybody scouts when they can,” said McPherson. “Everybody has some tricks, but all films are available now. So it’s just part of the game.”

The Vikings could use another dominant performance from the defense if they hope to beat the Packers, because Colquitt County boasts some of the most dangerous weapons in the region.

Colquitt is the home of Region 1-6A’s leading rusher, Sihiem King with 427 yards, as well as a pair of explosive receivers: Todd Boyd with 15 catches for 213 yards and Kiel Pollard with 14 catches for 225 yards.

QB Daniel Mobley is second in passing yards to Coffee's Tyree Paulk with 757 yards (55 of 106 attempts, five TDs).

Lowndes was able to hold Colquitt to eight yards rushing and 164 total yards a season ago and behind the strong play of Zach Copeland, Tre Jackson, Brian Bell, and others, the Vikings are certainly capable of turning in another strong effort.

Even though they got the win, the Vikings could not complete a pass against the Packers defense last year. That’ll have to change to keep Colquitt from simply loading the box and shutting down the Vikings offense all game.

The Packers have a lot of talent on their defensive line, but luckily for the Vikings, they’ll still be without star defensive tackle Jamiyus Pittman, who broke his fibula and will be out for six to eight weeks.

Ahman Brown should benefit from Pittman’s absence up front as the offensive line should have a bit of an easier go at opening some holes at the line of scrimmage. Brown is Lowndes’ leading rusher with 298 yards on 41 carries through four games.

The most important factor in the Vikings’ success tonight could be how well the team can execute and avoid sloppy play.

Lowndes has outscored its opponents 192-2 in its three victories, but in the 15-14 upset to Newton, Lowndes lost three fumbles and cost themselves 122 yards over 13 penalties.

Kick-off at Martin Stadium is set for 8 p.m. today.

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