Valdosta Daily Times

Local Sports

October 30, 2012

Vikings preparing for clash with No. 1 Camden County

VALDOSTA — The Lowndes Vikings are preparing for Friday’s highly-anticipated game against top-ranked Camden County like normal — three practices to start the week, followed by a walk through on Thursday and kickoff at 8 p.m. Friday night.

And it is all business as usual for the Vikings.

“It is no different now,” Lowndes head coach Randy McPherson said.

Friday’s game will feature the nationally-ranked Wildcats and Class 6A’s fourth-ranked Vikings facing off for the Region 1-6A championship.

While Camden County is expected to be near full strength, and not missing any key players, the Vikings might be without two of their best.

All-State safety Tiquan Lang and running back Nick Burgman both sat out of Monday’s practice with injuries, and both are considered day-to-day, according to McPherson.

“They are going to be day-to-day. They are walking without crutches, so that is a good thing,” McPherson said.

Lang rolled his ankle in last Monday’s practice and was on crutches all week. He did not play last Friday against Tift County.

Burgman was injured in the first quarter against the Blue Devils, hurting his hamstring. He left the game in clear pain and did not return.

Lang was seen in a walking boot at Monday’s practice, while Burgman was seen viewing practice in street clothes standing next to Lang.

Although both are listed as day-to-day, nothing is guaranteed.

Both players will play Friday if they are cleared, and the Viking coaching staff wouldn’t contemplate sitting either of them out to take advantage of the extended rest time they would receive heading into the playoffs.

“If they are capable to play, they are going to play,” McPherson said. “If they are not cleared and unable to play, they aren’t playing. It is as simple as that.

“We want to win every game we play. Both of them are legitimately hurt, but the good news is that we’re going to get them back at some point in time. Neither injury was quite as bad as we thought.”

The Vikings worked for two-plus hours inside Martin Stadium on Monday, braving the heavy wind and cold         temperatures in preparation for Camden County, which is 142-16 with three state championships since head coach Jeff Herron took over the program in 2000.

Both teams enter Friday’s game with perfect records; Lowndes is 9-0 and Camden County is 8-0. The winner of the game will be crowned region champion and will serve as the No. 1 seed for the playoffs. The loser will secure the second seed in the playoffs, both of which will have to go through tough competition from Gwinnett County in the state quarterfinals.

Friday’s game will be nationally televised on ESPNU.

“I think it is an honor to have ESPN here, but once the game starts, you don’t notice they are there,” McPherson said.

Along with TV audience, Martin Stadium is expected to be sold out for the game. McPherson said his team will be focused.

“They will be focused, they know what is at stake,” McPherson said. “They’re going to come out here and give them their best shot and have fun doing it.”

Tickets for Friday’s game are currently on sale. Reserved seat tickets are $8; general admission tickets are $7; and student tickets are $5.

Pending the game doesn’t sell out prior to Friday, all tickets are the gate will be $8.  

Tickets may be purchased at the Viking ticket office, located at 1592 Norman Drive. The ticket office is open Monday — Thursday from 12:30 p.m. until 4:30 p.m. and Friday 9 a.m. until noon.

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