Valdosta Daily Times

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September 12, 2013

Vikings look to recover from upset

VALDOSTA — The Lowndes Vikings are working to sharpen their execution and cut out unnecessary penalties when they face the Windsor Forest Knights this Friday.  

In a disappointing loss to the Newton Rams last Friday, most of the Vikings' wounds were self-inflicted.

Lowndes was flagged 13 times for 122 yards; most of the flags were on illegal procedures, and holds.

"We looked at each and every penalty, holding especially," said Lowndes Vikings’ head coach Randy McPherson. “We’ve just got to get better in that department. Whether you agree with the call or not, it doesn’t matter. You can’t give them an excuse to call a hold.”

Ball security was also an issue for the Vikings. Lowndes put the ball on the ground five times in the game, losing three of them.

“I thought I had them ready to secure the ball. We work on it, but obviously I didn’t do a very good job coaching ball security,” said McPherson. “But we will get better.”

Without those mistakes, Lowndes would have likely won the football game, but even without the penalties, it appeared the offense struggled to consistently move the ball despite 130 rushing yards from Ahman Brown.

"I kinda disagree with that," said McPherson. “I thought we moved the ball really well early. Basically the only thing that did stop us was either a turnover or a holding call. It was later in the game, where I believe you’re referring to, we had a hard time with the blitz for awhile. We didn’t do a good job picking that up.”

The Vikings were

only able to gain 208 offensive yards, but McPherson believes that was more so a result of the bad down and distance situations the offense was put in because of penalties.

While a majority of the penalties were called against the offensive side of the ball, arguably the two biggest came from the defense on the final drive.

With the Rams pinned deep in their own territory and down to a 4th and 33, with all the receivers covered down field, Newton's quarterback, Romario Johnson scrambled up the sideline to pick up the first down.

On the way out of bounds, he was shoved out by a Lowndes defender, drawing an unnecessary roughness flag and giving the Rams an additional 15 yards.

After a few shots into the end zone, Newton was able to draw a pass interference on Brandon Roberts on a third and long pass into the end zone.

With a fresh set of downs, the Rams were able to score the game winning touchdown.

Even though the Vikings were burned by an overly aggressive defense in this game, McPherson doesn't want to see his defense hold back any.

"Oh yeah, we want them to stay aggressive," said McPherson. “We’ve just got to get better and we will.”

If history has any indication, Lowndes and McPherson will right the ship in a hurry.

McPherson has only lost in consecutive weeks on three occasions since he became the Vikings head coach in 2002.

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