Valdosta Daily Times

Local Sports

November 13, 2012

Vikings focused on Marietta

Lang, Burgman expected to return Friday

VALDOSTA — The Lowndes Vikings were off last week, and head coach Randy McPherson was pleased with the amount of effort his team gave at practice.

“We had a good week of practice,” McPherson told The Times Monday afternoon. “We worked a lot on our secondary coverage, blitzes and stuff like that, which is something we usually do, but maybe a little bit more last week.”

Now, the Vikings (9-1) are preparing for the start of their second season and their first round playoff matchup against the Marietta Blue Devils (8-2), the No. 3 seed from Region 4-6A. The teams will meet Friday night at 8 p.m. in Lowndes’ Martin Stadium.

“They have a quarterback going to LSU and a receiver going to Wake Forest,” said McPherson of Marietta. “They have skill people all over on offense and defensively they’re solid. They are a real good football team.”

Marietta secured the third seed out of Region 4 after going 7-3 in the regular season, losing region games to region champion McEachern and No. 2 seed North Cobb. The Blue Devils beat Harrison 52-14 on Friday night.

If the Vikings can get through their opening round matchup Friday night, they will likely face the Lovejoy Wildcats, the No. 1 seed out of Region 2, whose only loss this season came at the hands of the Colquitt County Packers in September. A win in the second round would likely put the Vikings facing the reigning state champion Grayson Rams in the state quarterfinals. The Rams eliminated the Vikings from the Class 5A state playoffs in the second round last year and in the quarterfinals in 2008.

“We got Marietta at home,” McPherson said. “We are going to go out there and do our best. I haven’t really studied (the brackets), but I do know that if you want to win it all, you are going to have to beat a good team eventually.”

If the Vikings plan on making a deep run through talented teams this postseason, they will have to be healthy. This week, the Vikings might get two key weapons back on the field, as All-State safety Tiquan Lang (ankle) and rushing leader Nick Burgman (hamstring) are expected to play Friday night against Marietta.

“They are getting better,” McPherson said. “The trainer said they are going to be ready. We hadn’t practiced them yet (Monday), but we’ll see.”

Looking back at this past week, McPherson said he wasn’t surprised by Colquitt County’s upset win over previously-unbeaten Camden County, saying he knew it would be close.

“We feel like it is the toughest region in the state, if not the country,” McPherson said. “I knew it would be a great game; it didn’t really surprise me that much.”

The Lowndes High Randy McPherson Coach’s Show airs Tuesday nights at 7 p.m. on 99.5 FM. The show broadcasts live from the Holiday Inn and Conference Center on West Hill Ave.

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