Valdosta Daily Times

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October 11, 2013

Lowndes prepared for another exciting Winnersville

VALDOSTA — Citizens of the city of Valdosta have had today circled on their calendars all year, a day where students and alumni alike will tailgate and reminisce about past editions of a great American rivalry. Today is the Winnersville Classic.

As usual, both teams come into this game with a lot on the line and a lot to prove.

The Vikings are trying to get back on track after early season losses to the Newton Rams and Colquitt Packers.

Lowndes started building momentum when they took to the road to knock off the Brunswick Pirates in a hard fought region game. A win over the Wildcats has the power to turn the Vikings’ season around.

With a win, Lowndes would move to 2-1 in Region 1-6A and 4-2 overall with three games remaining, controlling their own destiny in the march to the playoffs.

Looking at their opponents, the Vikings should see a lot of similarities to their own team.

Valdosta, like Lowndes, has yet to find a consistent passing game, but both teams boast a strong running game backed up by a stingy defense.

The Wildcats rely on the star power of Nelson Herring and Malcom Joseph — who have combined for 974 yards and 12 touchdowns — while Lowndes has relied on a running back by committee approach to their running game.

Jerome Daniels and sophomore running back Anthony Robinson are the leading rushers on the Viking’s roster with 191 and 192 yards, respectively.

Daniels has been the man around the goal line for the Vikings; he’s found paydirt seven times this year, and Robinson has averaged over seven yards per carry.

Meanwhile, 13 other Vikings have gained a combined 739 yards and scored nine touchdowns, showing just how versatile the running game is.

Both teams also possess defenses capable of shutting down an opponents' offense.

Valdosta’s Anthony Smith and Lowndes’ Tre Jackson should put on a linebacking clinic tonight. Both players are extremely physical as well as excellent leaders on the field.

As close as these teams seem to be on paper, the game could come down to which team’s quarterback can make a play.

The Wildcats have used a trio of quarterbacks this season in an attempt to establish a semblance of a passing game after starter Cole Massingill tore his ACL during practice this summer.

Seth Shuman, Mac Loudermilk, and Craig Berry have all taken their turn under center this season, but none have been able to establish themselves as the permanent starter at the position.

Shuman has completed 23 of his 38 passes for 174 yards with a touchdown and interception this season.

Loudermilk has been a bit more accurate, but with many less attempts, going 12-18 for 103 yards and a touchdown. Berry has only completed one of his four attempts, but it went for an 89-yard score.

Austin Dixon has been able to outproduce the entire group combined in his first season as Lowndes’ starting quarterback.

Dixon has been solid this season, connecting on 27 of his 49 attempts for 401 yards for eight touchdowns and only two picks.

He is expected to put on a great performance again tonight. Unfortunately, Lowndes’ head coach Randy McPherson declined to be interviewed about his players or the game this week.

As with all Lowndes games, the audio broadcast is available to all Viking fans via the Internet or radio. 

Lowndes provides all Viking football games to those fans who are serving our country or whose business has taken them away from Lowndes County.

Local fans can follow the action by simply tuning their radio to 99.5 FM. For fans who are not in the area, the broadcast is available online at http://mykixcountry.com and click on the Listen Live link on the right side of the page.

There is also an iPad and iPhone link on this page that will allow you to access the required mobile app.

Winnersville tickets have been sold out since Wednesday morning, so Lowndes has been working to couple the audio broadcast from The Viking Voice with a video of the game and stream it live. 

Watch the Lowndes County Schools or Lowndes Football websites for a link to the broadcast.

The wait is over Valdosta. The Winnersville Classic is tonight.

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