Samuel D. Logan
The Valdosta Daily Times
The talk around town after last Friday was of the Vikings' demise; however, Lowndes gave the region some broken records to discuss this week as the Vikings exploded, scoring a stunning 87-0 victory over Windsor Forest.
The Vikings came out of the locker room looking like a team on a mission to show that despite a hiccup last week against Newton, Lowndes is still a team to be feared.
After a week of hearing questions surrounding the predictability of Randy McPherson's wing-T offense, on the first play of the game McPherson called the same wing-T run; Ahman Brown broke through a hole in the line, cut left, and was off to the races for 64 yards and a score.
On the next drive, McPherson showed he wasn't afraid to mix things up. After a one-yard run to begin the drive, the Vikings put the ball in the air on five of their next seven plays. Austin Dixon threw three screens and two intermediate routes, a tipped pass intended for Malik Johnson held Lowndes to a field goal.
"They crowded us up," said McPherson. “We felt like we could throw the ball, so that’s what we did."
The diverse play calling would be the story Friday night as the Vikings made sure the game was never close.
Having settled for the field goal on their second drive, Lowndes powered its way down field on six consecutive runs behind the strength of their offensive line and the tough running of Brown and Jerome Daniels, who put the Vikings up 17-0 with his 11-yard run.
With a big lead early, it wouldn’t have been a surprise to see McPherson call the dogs off, but the Vikings continued passing.
After starting the drive with a run, Dixon completed a 20-yard pass to Arvin Berry.
Dixon followed that with back-to-back two strikes to Demarcus Johnson for 15 yards each, the second of which went for a score to give Lowndes the 24-0 lead before the end of the first quarter.
The offensive air raid would continue throughout the second quarter.
Dixon would shake off an interception on a tipped pass in the Vikings first drive of the quarter to throw three touchdown passes in the quarter.
Mark Carron, Eric Hart, and Ahmad Sneed all hauled in a touchdown pass from Dixon to bring his total to four, tying a team single game record in just one half of work.
Dixon went 8-12 in the first half and the Vikings had rolled up 301 yards of total offense, 144 through the air.
While the offense lit up the scoreboard in the first half, the defense kept Windsor Forest from even sniffing it.
Newton was able to spread out the Vikings' defense and move the ball through the air a week ago, and the Knights were another spread team looking to exploit that same strategy, but the defense wasn't about to be embarrassed again.
On the first snap of the game, Brian Bell broke through the Knights offensive line and planted the runningback. Windsor Forest was called for the illegal procedure and replayed the down with a similar outcome; this time the runningback was drilled by the entire defensive line.
Those first few plays would foreshadow a hard-hitting night by the Vikings defense. Each and every tackle seemed to send a message to the rest of the region.
After holding Windsor Forest to a ridiculous -2 yards in an entire half that message was clear.
Don't count the Vikings out of the championship hunt.
"I thought we played way better on defense this week," said McPherson. “They did a great job.”
While the game was effectively over by halftime, the scoring was not.
When the teams came back out of the locker room, Lowndes ran onto the field with a line-up consisting of almost exclusively junior varsity players.
Even though the score was 52-0, the JV team wanted to make the most of their first time underneath the lights on a Friday night, and they would not be satisfied in simply going through the motions.
“None of the starters played in the second half,” said McPherson. “We put the B-Team in, but of course, they want to play hard, too.”
Lowndes' JV offense added five scores in the second half and the defense maintained the shutout as the Vikings won by a final score of 87-0.
Sophomore runningback James “Boogie” Camon rushed for 68 yards and a touchdown in the second half.
The Vikings ended the game with 432 total yards while holding the Knights to 24 yards.
In Windsor Forest's last visit to Martin Stadium a year ago, the Knights held tight for three quarters (down 17-0 going into the fourth) before falling by a final score of 38-0.
Tonight the Vikings were up 24-0 after one quarter and had surpassed last year’s score with over five minutes remaining before halftime.
Lowndes will face one last non-region opponent next Friday against Hardaway at 8 p.m. at Martin Stadium.