The Valdosta Daily Times
No drama, no suspense, just the way the Vikings wanted it; Lowndes cruised to a 38-10 victory over the East Coweta Indians in the opening round of the AAAAAA playoffs.
A year ago, Lowndes hosted Marietta at Martin Stadium in the first round and fell in an upset, but this year, East Coweta didn't even get the chance as the Vikings physically dominated the Indians from the opening whistle.
"It's a great win," said Vikings head coach Randy McPherson. "The kids played hard, the coaches had a great game plan, I'm just proud of them… I think we played our best game of the season tonight, without a doubt."
It was a complete team effort from Lowndes that allowed them to walk into Sharpsburg and take the air out of the playoff atmosphere at Garland Shoemake Memorial Stadium.
East Coweta got the ball first, but they could not build any sort of momentum against Lowndes'
talented defensive line. The Vikings were able to consistently win the battle at the line of scrimmage, getting pressure in the Indians backfield with ease. ECHS was forced to punt after just three plays, the first of three consecutive three-and-outs to begin the game.
The first offensive drive by East Coweta that was not a three-and-out resulted in a sack/fumble by Lowndes which was recovered in the end zone to put the lead to 20 mid-way through the second quarter.
Lowndes' offensive line experienced similar success to the defensive line against East Coweta as the Vikings marched downfield for a touchdown in nine plays, all runs —the drive was capped by an Alex Brown 16-yard touchdown run.
Though the result of the drive was just a touchdown, the slow, methodical drive reinforced the Indians biggest fear coming into this game — they just couldn't match up physically with the Vikings.
Sensing East Coweta's struggle to stop the run, McPherson decided to go for the jugular and put the game away early by going for two points after each touchdown until Lowndes had established a 31-3 lead. The first attempt was good, giving the Vikings an 8-0 lead.
Lowndes had what looks to have been an aberration of a three-and-out. When the Vikings received the ball again, they went on another long, time consuming drive, this one spanned 12 plays and 53 yards in over six minutes before ending in the end zone for a 14-0 lead for LHS.
After Lowndes' defensive touchdown, East Coweta was finally able to move the ball a bit, but the progress was short. Chaz Cherry caught a pass before having the ball ripped out. Tre Jackson was able to get on top of the ball to give his team one more shot to add to their lead before half.
On th first play after the turnover, McPherson kept the pedal on the gas as quarterback Austin Dixon was able to find Brandon Roberts 48 yards down-field off of play action.
A drop on a well-contested ball kept the Vikings out of the end zone, but Nick Hart's 25-yard field goal stayed true to give Lowndes a 23-0 lead.
Lowndes' first and only mistake of the night came with about 30 seconds remaining before half. The Vikings attempted a high kick to possibly get the ball back, but a kick-interference penalty gave the Indians excellent field-position with a little time to work with.
East Coweta got on the board with a 47-yard field goal, but any glimpse of hope from the score had to be bleak. Lowndes was able to rack up 119 yards on the ground on just 30 attempts, with another 56 through the air giving the Vikings a 175 to 79 yardage advantage after the first half.
Coming out of the locker rooms after the half, it was clear that East Coweta had to make some stops to have any shot of getting back into the game, but the Indians just couldn't rise to the occasion.
Lowndes got the ball to begin the second half and effectively stuck the fork in East Coweta's season by scoring on a six-yard touchdown run from Jerome Daniels on the eighth play of the drive to give the Vikings a 31-3 lead.
The score held there until Roberts scored his second touchdown of the night on a one-yard run after another will-breaking drive on the ground.
East Coweta finally found the end zone with 6:51 remaining in the game, but it was much too late. Lowndes would take the 38-10 victory. The Vikings finished with 238 yards on the ground on just 51 rushes.
As a result of the Lovejoy Wildcat's 27-21 victory over Marietta on Friday night, the Vikings will find themselves on the road once again next week to face Lovejoy in an exciting second-round match up.