Valdosta Daily Times

Local Sports

October 13, 2012

Gonzales kicks Vikings to win

VALDOSTA — Gustavo Gonzales watched the Lowndes Vikings give up 14 points to archrival Valdosta and lose last year’s Winnersville Classic.

On Friday night, the senior kicked the Vikings (7-0) to a 17-14 win over the rival Wildcats (3-3) in the Winnersville Classic at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium.

Gonzales split the uprights with a 40-yard field goal as time expired to lift the Vikings to the win, sending the visitors’ side of the stadium into a jubilant celebration. The Valdosta fans fell silent in disbelief at a game that had just gotten away.

 “This is crazy,” said Gonzales just minutes after kicking his team to the win. “Last year I came and I was in the student section and now I’m kicking the game-winning field goal. I just want to thank God.

“It is indescribable.”

Following his kick, Gonzales and the Vikings celebrated on the Wildcats’ home turf, much like the ’Cats did a year ago at Lowndes’ home stadium when they knocked off the Vikings in dramatic fashion.

Part of the celebration featured Gonzales being hoisted onto the shoulders of his teammates while they and the Viking crowd chanted his name in celebration.

It will be a moment Gonzales will never forget.

“It is just a big game, (and) I can’t believe it came to the kicker,” Gonzales said. “I dreamed about this last night. It is a dream come true.”

After the game, Lowndes head coach Randy McPherson had nothing but great things to stay about his inexperienced senior kicker that came up big one of high school football’s biggest stages.

“I know what kind of kid he is,” McPherson said. “He is an unbelievable student, like over a 4.0 (GPA), nothing but (advanced placement) classes. He has been playing soccer his whole life, showed up out there this summer and just fell in love with a football. He never kicked it until this summer.

“I knew he was going to make it.”

Lowndes’ game-winning field goal was set up by a Tiquan Lang interception with just over two minutes to play. Lang returned the interception well into Lowndes territory, setting up a few runs to improve the field goal position.

Gonzales took care of the rest with his game-winning kick.

“It is amazing,” Gonzales said. “Tiquan Lang got that pick to set up that field goal and that was all I needed.”

Gonzales’ field goal as time expired capped off a perfect night for the kicker. He accounted for Lowndes’ only offensive production through the first three quarters, connecting on 21-yard field goal to score the only points in the first half (for either team) and 37 yard field in the third quarter that cut Lowndes’ deficit to 7-6 heading into the final quarter of play.

The Vikings’ only touchdown of the game came with 4:17 remaining in the fourth quarter. Former Valdosta Wildcat turned Viking starting quarterback Alex Stephenson connected with Nick Burgman for a 20-yard TD, which cut Valdosta’s lead to 14-12. Lang added the two-point conversion with a run to the right side, making the score 14-14.

On Valdosta’s ensuing possession, quarterback Shelby Wilkes threw across the middle looking for Alex Cason. The pass was tipped in the air and Lang came down with the interception. The rest will live in Winnersville history.

Gonzales would have had an opportunity to connect on a fourth field goal on the night. With time winding down in the second quarter and no timeouts remaining, Stephenson fumbled the ball for the Vikings. He managed to recover but time was clicking off the clock as the field goal unit raced onto the field. On the last-second field goal attempt, Stephenson fumbled the snap and was sacked. Lowndes led 3-0 at the half.

1
Text Only
Local Sports
  • 0728-Lowndes practice4.jpg Vikings working out with padded practice, scrimmage on the horizon

    The look was familiar Monday at Martin Stadium.
    The Lowndes High football team’s conditioning practice was essentially a duplicate of the workouts the Vikings have completed throughout the summer.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Thomasville_Ryals.jpg South Georgia special for high school coaches

    Phillip Johnson remembers when he had a “Wizard of Oz” moment.
    The North Carolina native moved to Georgia when he was 26 and Johnson, now Lanier County’s second-year head coach, recalls a 7-on-7 tournament leading to the realization that he wasn’t in Kansas — or in his case, North Carolina — anymore.
     

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Nolin settling in as new VSU soccer coach

    Meet Rebecca Nolin, VSU's new soccer coach.

    July 28, 2014

  • Induction Crowd: Honorees were genuine, down to earth

    More than 48,000 people gathered under the scorching sun at The Clark Sports Center for the 75th National Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Sunday, including one woman who carpooled to the event with more than 40 other people.

    July 28, 2014

  • Braves trio all business at inductions

    The Braves seemed almost businesslike in their approach -- something you might expect from a trio that won so consistently.
    Managers Joe Torre and Tony La Russa also remained calm and collected throughout their addresses.
    Frank Thomas took care of the emotional side, his voice breaking and his eyes moist during a heartfelt speech Sunday at the Clark Sports Center.
     

    July 28, 2014

  • Cooperstown Merchants: Weekend was a success

    Cooperstown merchants are elated about the exceptionally prosperous Hall of Fame Induction Weekend, several storekeepers said Sunday.

    During an afternoon lull in business, when the National Baseball Hall of Fame's induction ceremony was taking place, area shop and restaurant owners took a quick breath, reflected and expressed satisfaction with their sales for the weekend.
     

    July 28, 2014

  • Hall of Famers thank fathers for stepping up to the plate

    Great ballplayers thanking their dads at a Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is about as original as oil and vinegar are to an Italian restaurant.

    July 28, 2014

  • Hall_Maddux.jpg Hall of Braves

    The weird part was that Jeff Idelson didn't take a lot of time to answer.
    "Is there any word or description that unifies this class?" was the query posed to the National Baseball Hall of Fame's president.
    "The common thread among the six is profound humility," Idelson said of former managers Joe Torre, Bobby Cox and Tony La Russa, and former players Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, all of whom will be inducted into the Hall today. "I don't think I realized that fully until I spent time with them in December. It was uncanny to me, for the cumulative star power in that group, the humility among them. I think that's felt really strongly with baseball fans."

    July 27, 2014 2 Photos 1 Story

  • Hall_Cox.jpg Cox’s willingness to defend players stands out to local coaches

    Bobby Cox will be able to add Hall of Famer to his resume when he is inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame today in Cooperstown, N.Y.
    But the former Atlanta Braves manager’s legacy will remain the same to area baseball coaches: his willingness to defend his players.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • Valwood_Henderson.jpg Area teams hoping to get over the hump

    Past successes lead to present and future expectations.
    That’s the task faced by pretty much all 12 area high school football coaches present Saturday at In The Game Magazine’s South Georgia Football media day at the Holiday Inn conference center.
    It’s a task that also has the elite group searching for answers as to how to get past the state championship road block in recent years, aside from Valwood’s GISA Class AA crown in 2012.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

Blazers Blog
More