Valdosta Daily Times

Local Sports

April 13, 2014

Valdosta State’s offense comes alive, narrowly defeating the ‘Black Swarm’ 59-55

VALDOSTA — Worried more about helping Valdosta State win than impressing in his quarterback battle, Kaleb Nobles got the opportunity to do both at the end of the Blazers' spring game Saturday.

Nobles and the No. 2 offense took over at its own 30 with 1:31 remaining and the offense trailing at VSU's practice field with fans lining both sidelines and the side of the athletic fieldhouse. Seven plays later, Nobles hit Xay Howard for a 3-yard touchdown on the scrimmage's final play to lift the offense to a 59-55 win.

"It's a good feeling to finally put everything together on offense," Nobles said. "I thought we looked good out there as a whole. Everybody played good.

"As far as the situation, whenever your number is called you have to be ready to go in there and make plays. If you're the starter, make plays. If you're No. 2, you have to be ready to go in there."

He certainly answered the call in the final drive. Following incompletions on the first two plays, Nobles hit Chris Anderson for 18 yards and a first down. Then after a sack - the second of the scrimmage from senior defensive end Tevin Davis - Nobles found Anderson for 37 yards. The sophomore quarterback, who played extensively in four games a year ago, followed that with a 25-yard completion to Howard, which set up the game-winning score a play later.

"It worked out very well with that last stop the defense made, it put them ahead and it forced our offense to have to go down and score," VSU coach David Dean said. "It worked out well in that we had to execute our two-minute offense to win the game, and we've done that twice now.

"He stood in there and made some clutch throws, some great throws. A couple of throws with touch on them too, which is always hard to do in clutch situations because guys always want to rifle it in there. But he had the presence of mind to take a little bit off and that's good to see.

"I feel really good about our quarterback situation right now."

Nobles, who unofficially completed 13 of 22 passes for 221 yards with three touchdowns and one interception, got that opportunity after VSU's defense capitalized on its opportunities to take the scrimmage lead with a system that awarded points for three-and-outs (seven), preventing the offense from reaching midfield (six) and turnovers (four) in addition to defensive scores, which it had three. Preceding the final drive, the Blazer defense scored its final touchdown when it recovered a fumble in the end zone and then forced a three-and-out.

"Three scores for the defense says a lot about those guys," Dean said.

Added Nobles: "The defense has played great all spring, flying around and making plays."

That swarming defense victimized Nobles early in the second half when senior linebacker Rodney Hunter stepped in front of a first-down pass and rumbled 75 yards the other way for his second score. In the first half, he caught a deflected ball and returned it around 30 yards.

"Play hard, toughness, the 'Black Swarm,'" Hunter said. "That's what we live by, run to the ball. That's our mindset out there.

"I saw money. I have to go make that money and that's all I saw when the ball was in the air. I've got to go make a play on it."

Added Dean: "They were two great plays that he made.

"Kaleb did throw that one interception but that was just a great play by Rodney. I would have done the same thing if I had been quarterbacking."

But that was about the only mark against Nobles or Jake Medlock, a senior transfer from Florida International. Medlock, who started the scrimmage with the No. 1 offense before the two alternated series with both the top two units, got off to a slow start before finding his rhythm. The former Golden Panthers' starter completed just one of his first six passes and was frustrating himself.

"I did start off slow, I was even, 'Come on Jake. Come on,'" he said.

But then Tyre Waiters laid out on a third-down snap, making a 56-yard grab with full extension of his 6-foot-3 frame. From there, Medlock settled in and the offense took off, as he found Howard for his first touchdown three plays later. Medlock finished 11 of 20 for 216 yards and three touchdowns.

"I think it was just that one completion," Medlock said. "I just needed that one completion to get my rhythm. I just started to slow things down and go through my reads.

"I think I was a little tight because it's my last spring game ever. And then I got excited. So I just slowed myself down and got into a rhythm."

While Medlock and the No. 1 offense took time to get started, the No. 2s scored on their first two drives. The first score came on a 45-yard run from Nick Davis. The Blazers also got a rushing score on the final play of the first half when Cedric O'Neal broke free from 74 yards out on a third-and-9.

Still, Medlock didn't do it alone. Nor did Nobles.

Rather, as Waiters' early catch showed, they had help from their receivers. Shane Henderson, a midterm enrollee after transferring from Hancock College, hauled in a scrimmage-high five catches for 129 yards and two touchdowns, the first coming on a 53-yard play from Nobles where he got wide open behind the defense and the second on a 22-yard pass from Medlock on a pass that flew over a leaping Waiters, who finished with three catches for 98 yards. Howard had three scores, two on jump balls, on four catches for 50 yards. The final passing score came when Brandon Paden had Medlock's pass nestle into his stomach as he crashed into the end zone with a defensive back wrapped on him.

"They did a great job, all of the receivers," Medlock said. "Shane, Tyre, Xay, Bambi. It was unbelievable how great they were all doing. We've come together so close as a unit throughout this whole spring.

"At the end, all we want is for Valdosta State to win the national championship."

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