Valdosta Daily Times

Top Sports News

December 14, 2013

A ‘Wild’ season in review

VHS football looks back and ahead to 2014

VALDOSTA — The Valdosta High Wildcat football team started the season with hopes of winning a state championship. While that may not have occurred, the Wildcats still played each game with tenacity and heart and finished the season 6-5.

“Our kids played hard all year long. The kids did a good job battling through the adversity we went through during the season,” said Head Coach Rance Gillespie. “We were just a play or two short in a few games.”

With a 34-20 loss in the first round of the playoffs against Langston Hughes of Atlanta, the Wildcats' season ended where the 2014 season begins.

The Wildcats have been selected to play in the Metro PCS Corky Kell Classic in the Georgia Dome, 2:30 p.m., Aug. 23, when they will face Brookwood.

The Wildcats will hope to begin the season with a win in the Dome, followed by a final victory at the Dome in December to win a state title.

This past season, the ‘Cats started off 4-0, rolling over Thomas County Central, Brooks County, Crisp County and crushing Newton 41-14.

“We were excited about starting 4-0. Our defense played great all year long. We had had some big special team plays during the run. Our offense was explosive at times, too,” said Gillespie.

The ‘Cats struggled to find wins on the road however, dropping three regular season away games at Camden, Lowndes and Colquitt.

“We played really good teams on the road this season. I do however feel like we have a good home field advantage with the fans at Bazemore-Hyder,” said Gillespie.

Sophomore quarterback Seth Shuman took over at quarterback after the team lost junior Cole Massingill to a leg injury this summer.

Before Shuman had his shot at quarterback, junior Craig Barry and senior Mac Loudermilk, who is also the team's punter, had chances to be the ‘Cats leader, but Shuman was able to claim the undisputed starting spot.

“He (Shuman) really grew as the season went along. He played well a year before we thought he would have to come in. He really got a grasp of what we do on offense in a limited amount of time. When his number was called, he did a great job stepping in,” said Gillespie.

It may seem as if Shuman will be the starter for the ‘Cats coming into spring practice; however, with Massingill and Barry returning, Gillespie noted that there would be competition for quarterback.

On offense, the ‘Cats were led by senior running backs Malcolm Joseph and Nelson Herring, who combined for a phenomenal 1,742 yards on the ground, earning 905 and 837 yards respectively.

“They were two special kids. Both are really great football players and both will have the chance to continue playing in college,” said Gillespie. “Next season, the other players on the roster will step up to the job.”

A big playmaker that emerged for the Wildcats was freshman tight end Khalil McClain. McClain caught 14 passes for 231 yards and four touchdowns on the season.

“He made a lot of big plays as a freshman. McClain grew as the season went along and he will be more involved as he grows in the program,” said Gillespie.

With the ‘Cats losing senior big play receiver Alex Cason to Marshall, they will have to replace a 6-foot-3 speedster, who also returned punts and kickoffs.

“He’s a very talented kid. He really grew over the years. Coach Jacquez Green helped him grow a lot,” said Gillespie.

On defense, the ‘Cats were led by seniors Darrius Sapp and Anthony Smith.

“These two guys are special. Smith did a lot from a call and check standpoint at the line. He always made sure the defense was running the right play. Part of our challenge will be to replace both of them on defense,” said Gillespie.

Cornerback Joshua Norwood will be returning to the ‘Cats secondary as a senior in 2014.

“Norwood played a lot of snaps as a sophomore. He once again had an amazing season. He will be a solid leader for the secondary this upcoming season,” said Gillespie.

Overall, ending the season 6-5 was not in the Wildcats' plans, but Coach Gillespie is optimistic about working with his team as the offseason goes along.

“I am proud of my kids and the efforts they put in through the year,” said Gillespie.

Text Only
Top Sports News
  • Blazers to play three games on GSC-TV

    Valdosta State will play three televised games this fall, the Gulf South Conference announced Wednesday as it released its GSC-TV schedule.

    July 31, 2014

  • 2014 World Championships 216 (640x427).jpg Best of the Best

    The students of Performance Martial Arts Academy continue to rack up accolades and after a weekend in Little Rock, Ark., those accolades include the title of world champion.
    Mark Webb and Madison Swain both earned world championships at the American Taekwondo Association's Taekwondo World Championships a few weeks ago. Four other Performance Martial Arts students also competed in the event.

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • 150723-Lowndes_Brooks5.jpg Winding Down

    In its final 7-on-7 test of the summer, Randy McPherson was pleased with how the Lowndes football team looked Wednesday morning.
    Brooks County coach Maurice Freeman, on the other hand, was worried about the kind of hole the Trojans would have dug for themselves at Martin Stadium against the Vikings and Lafayette (Fla.) had it been a real game.

    July 24, 2014 3 Photos

  • Grable signs with Tampa Bay

    Another former Valdosta State football player joined the ranks of the National Football League when linebacker Jeremy Grable signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Wednesday morning.

    July 23, 2014

  • MaryAlice.jpg Just Keep Running

    Forrest Gump once said, "I used to run to get to where I was going, but I never thought it would take me anywhere." In the case of 18 year-old Mary Alice Smoot, anywhere is Tampa, Fla.
    After four years of unparalleled success running cross-country at Valwood, Smoot will continue running competitively next season at the University of Tampa.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • 10U ELITE World Series Champs.jpg DKSA Elite win USSSA Global World Series

    DKSA ELITE just continues to win, the 10U team’s latest victory came in the USSSA Global World Series held in Destin, Fla. July 8-12.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Valwood.jpg A Different Look

    With football summer workouts in full swing, occasionally the intensity and competitive drive can wane going against teammates. But on Friday, Valwood, Brookwood, Lanier County and Tiftarea Academy broke up the monotony by meeting at Goddard Field for a four-team, 7-on-7 passing league.

    July 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • pilcher.jpg Berrien competes in 6-team passing camp

    If Ed Pilcher had his way, Berrien High would never throw the football.
    But that doesn't mean the veteran coach doesn't enjoy the opportunity that a passing league, or the six-team passing camp at Cairo on Thursday morning, can provide his Rebels.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bubba Walker promoted to defensive coordinator

    Valdosta State Linebacker Coach Bubba Walker has been promoted to fill the open posiiton of defensive coordinator for the Blazer football team according to an announcement made by VSU Head Coach David Dean Thursday.

    July 18, 2014

  • Albritton wins NCAA Elite 89

    Courtney Albritton's tremendous 2013-2014 season earned her one more award Thursday night when the Valdosta State softball star won the NCAA's Favorite Elite 89 Winner contest by securing the more votes than any other student-athlete.

    July 17, 2014

Top News

Do you agree with the millage rate increases?

Yes. We need to maintain services
No. Services should have been cut.
     View Results