The Valdosta Daily Times
8 p.m., that’s when the 2013 Lowndes Vikings will finally take the field for the first meaningful game at Martin Stadium this season; that’s when the Luella Lions will try to brace themselves for the release of a summer worth of frustration from a team that started last season 9-0 before dropping their final two games.
Lowndes has had a long time to think about the shocking loss to Marietta in the opening round of last season’s playoffs that abruptly ended its season. Viking fans will finally have their chance to witness what the team has learned from their previous failure.
Luella comes in as big underdogs to a Vikings team that beat them handily a season ago, 50-23. In fact, the Lions haven’t had a winning campaign since 2008, a season that ended with another blowout by the hands of Lowndes, this time in the opening round of the playoffs, 41-23.
Despite being heavy favorites for the home opener, Vikings head coach Randy McPherson refuses to let his team overlook an opponent.
“We don’t know how inferior they are, they haven’t gotten here yet,” said McPherson. “We’re expecting a good game, we’ve got to play sound defense and execute on offense. We don’t look at past records or anything like that. It’s time to play football.”
If Lowndes’ scrimmage against Thomasville on Aug. 16 was any indication, the Vikings should have no trouble executing on offense.
Lowndes ran up 446 offensive yards against the Bulldogs in an extremely steady fashion, picking up first down after first down, with a few big plays sprinkled in.
Austin Dixon got the start in that scrimmage and it’ll be seen if he has done enough in the last few weeks to hold onto the starting spot. Dixon had a few nice throws against Thomasville, but the Vikings couldn’t be stopped on the ground behind the tough running of Ahman Brown and Jerome Daniels.
As far as defense goes, “solid” might be underselling this Lowndes team.
A year ago, the Vikings defense had their way with Luella’s first team offense.
The Lions starters only managed one touchdown in the game, on their first offensive possession, and even then, the touchdown came after a huge opened up in the defensive line.
This year’s edition of the Vikings defense may be even better than last years incarnation.
Lowndes returns six starters from last years defense, including possibly the most important player on the roster, middle linebacker Tre Jackson.
Jackson is immensely talented, and provides leadership to the entire Vikings team.
Fellow linebackers Brian Bell and Dante Robinson impressed in Lowndes’ scrimmage as well which makes the Vikings defense a scary proposition for opposing teams.
Bell was flying around making stops early in the scrimmage, ending with five total tackles in just over a half of play. Robinson added a big sack on a fourth down play.
This afternoon Luella will make the three hour drive down I-75 to TitleTown, USA to open up the 2013 season.
The Vikings will be waiting.