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September 28, 2013

Lowndes falls to Colquitt 37-7

VALDOSTA — 1994. That was the last time Colquitt County came away from Martin Stadium with a win, until Friday night. The Colquitt County Packers traveled to Lowndes and delivered a 37-7 beat down in a statement win to open up the 1-6A region play.

Lowndes’ offense struggled for much of the game, mostly due to the predictability of the play calls. Given that Packer’s Coach Rush Propst had an extra week to prepare, the results weren't all that surprising.

“I just thought we prepared well; it’s all about preparation,” said Propst. “The emotions are going to take care of themselves. Both teams are going to be emotionally ready. You don't play in this ballgame and not be ready. I thought our kids prepared well for two weeks. That was the key— preparation.”

Colquitt County loaded the box with nine defenders in an attempt to force Lowndes to beat them through the air. The Vikings didn't try, instead constantly running into a crowded line of scrimmage.

Despite losing their stud defensive lineman Jamiyus Pittman to a broken fibula, the Packers defensive line man-handled the Vikings offensive line, getting a good push against the run and absolutely crushing them in pass protection.

“They've got a good team,” said Lowndes Coach Randy McPherson. “They whupped us. We had a hard time blocking all night.”

The game started about as badly as it could for the Vikings. The offense could not move the ball and the defense couldn't stop the Packers from marching up and down the field as Colquitt built a 14-0 lead in a little more than half a quarter.

With the Packers defense stacking the box, the Vikings running backs could find no room, resulting on five consecutive three-and-outs to begin the game. Colquitt held Lowndes to negative yardage through about a quarter and a half of play.

The Vikings lack of creativity on offense would result in running the ball straight into a nine-man box on first and second down before attempting a third and long pass on three out of the first five drives of the game. On the other two drives, Lowndes ran the ball on all three plays before punting.

Despite the constant nine-man fronts, Lowndes ran the ball 20 times in the first half for just 22 yards.

While the Vikings offense struggled to stay on the field, the defense had trouble getting off of it, despite a near perfect set-up to begin the game.

After Lowndes' first three-and-out of the game, the Vikings pinned the Packers at their own three yard-line with a great punt. One the first play from the three, Tre Jackson was able to burst through the hole quickly and put a hit on Colquitt runningback Shiem King, but the region 1-6A leading rusher spun out of the tackle and managed to just get out of the end zone to avoid the safety.

On the very next play, Todd Boyd got behind Eric Hart and Daniel Mobley put the ball on the money for a 64 yard gain with Hart's shoestring tackle keeping the pass from going 99 yards for the score.

It wouldn't matter though, as a few plays later, Mobley uses a strong pitch fake to open up a screen for an easy 28 yard touchdown to put the Packers up 7-0.

The Vikings would respond to the touchdown with two consecutive runs up the gut for minimal gains before Austin Dixon was brought down for a sack on a third down pass attempt.

Following the punt, the Packers were once again able to gash the Vikings defense with ease. Colquitt went up 14-0 on another play action play. This time Mobley decided to keep the ball to go 31 yards untouched for the score.

The Vikings' defense would improve from that point on. Lowndes couldn't capitalize, and once again they went three-and-out and punted the ball back to a hot Packers team.

Colquitt County once again proceeded to march right down the field, until about the eight-yard line, which is when the defense came alive.

The Vikings were able to keep the Packers out of the end zone to force a field goal attempt which was blocked by a host of defenders.

Even though they finally had some momentum on their side, Lowndes would again manage to go three-and-out with Dixon going down twice.

An inspired defense kept the Packers out of the end zone again on the next drive, providing the Viking's crowd with another shot of adrenaline with a goal line stand before a field goal would make the game 17-0.

Lowndes' offense again went three-and-out for the fifth consecutive drive.

Following another Colquitt field gold, the Vikings got the ball back with about a minute to go before the half. Three runs later, Lowndes had finally picked up their first first down of the game on a six yard run by Ahman Brown.

After picking up the first down, the Vikings got bold. Dixon ran a play action pass and hit Brandon Roberts deep for a 47 yard gain — more than doubling the Vikings offensive output to that point. Four plays later, Dixon connected with Malik Roberts on an eight yard slant with 11 seconds remaining to put Lowndes on the scoreboard, 20-7.

Heading into the locker room, Lowndes seemingly had the momentum on their side. Despite being out gained in the first half 252 to 81, the Vikings were down by only two scores.

After a missed Colquitt field goal, the Vikings got the ball on their 20 yard line. Lowndes picked up two quick first downs on the drive but after a seven yard gain on first down, the Vikings put the ball on the ground and the Packers were able to scoop up the ball.

Lowndes wouldn't threaten to score again until there was under two mintues left in the game with Colquitt up 37-7 with their second-string on the field.

Mobley and the region's leading rusher Siheim King combined for 156 yards on the ground and two touchdowns, gashing Lowndes on the zone read throughout the game.

"We had a hard time defending the zone read," said McPherson. "It killed us."

In contrast from last year's "spy gate" debacle, Propst remained humble after the big victory.

"We were the better team tonight, not necessarily next week or the next week," said Propst. "In this region, you got to put this one to bed. Lowndes has got to put it to bed, we gotta put it to bed. We've got to play Tift next week and Lowndes'  has got to play Brunswick and they've got to go play, and they've got to go win. I think Lowndes is as good as anyone in this region."

The Vikings hit the road for the first time this season next week to face Brunswick at 7:30.

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