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October 3, 2013

Vikings fight through adversity

VALDOSTA —  Losses on — and off —the field have made for a tough week at Lowndes High School.

On Friday night, the Vikings suffered their biggest home loss in their history at the hands of the Colquitt Packers, 37-7.

Lowndes struggled moving the ball with Colquitt packing the line of scrimmage, resulting in just 116 yards on 39 rushes — just under 3 yards a carry.

Even with the Packer’s defensive backfield so close to the line of scrimmage, the Vikings could not take advantage through the air because of both shaky protection and bad execution.

“We’ve got to block better,” said Lowndes head coach Randy McPherson. “We’ve got to pass-block better, run-block better, we can’t fumble the ball. We can’t have penalties. We’ve just got to get better. They’ve got a really good team, but we’re definitely in get better quick mode right now.”

A big loss on Friday night is frustrating, but not insurmountable. However, things got even worse for the Vikings the following Monday afternoon.

Several Lowndes players decided to quit the team, a shocking move considering the tradition of football at LHS.

An estimate of 10 players walked out of practice for various reasons which, according to sources, include: the success of the team this season, play-calling, and the difficulty of practices.

Ahman Brown, the Vikings leading rusher with 304 yards and four touchdowns, is among the players leaving the team. Offensive lineman C.J. Schell has also left the team.

McPherson did not want to discuss the players who left the team, choosing to instead praise the players that are still with the team.

“We’ve got a bunch of kids out there," said McPherson. “Eighty-five strong and 140 in the program.”

Lowndes did manage to avoid more bad news from Monday when the Vikings had a health scare with starting guard Cole Rigdon.

Rigdon injured his neck in a pile-up in practice and experienced some slight numbness in his legs, but he has since been cleared to play and has returned to practice.

Lowndes will need all the help they can get as they take to the road for the first time this season to face the Brunswick Pirates.

The Pirates are 2-2 on the season with both wins coming at home.

Despite the tough week and 3-2 record, McPherson still expects his squad to come out ready to play on their way to a playoff berth.

“I’m expecting those guys to come out and play to win,” said McPherson. “We had some issues on defense Friday night we had to work on. Some fundamental issues. They’ve responded well in practice. We’re looking at it like we’re still in the middle of it. We’ve just got to get better.”

Lowndes’ game at Brunswick begins at 7:30 p.m.. Fans can listen to the game on 99.5 FM.

The Vikings will be back at Martin Stadium the following week to host cross-town rivals, the Valdosta WIldcats, in the annual Winnersville Classic on Oct. 11.

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