Valdosta Daily Times

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November 1, 2013

Lowndes, Camden battle for second place in region

VALDOSTA — The Lowndes Vikings have put together an impressive streak of four consecutive wins following a region-opening home loss to Colquitt County; Lowndes’ progress will be put to the test tonight as the Vikings do battle with the Wildcats of Camden County in Kingsland.

Lowndes has looked much improved compared to the shape of the team midway through the year.

After a shocking upset at the hands of Newton and a convincing loss to the Packers, the Vikings sat at 3-2 with a bleak outlook on the rest of the season, but Lowndes has risen like a phoenix over the last four weeks, winning all four games against region opponents.

All three phases of Lowndes’ team have stepped up over the last several weeks, but it is the defense that has been paramount in the Vikings victories.

In Lowndes’ seven wins this season, the defense has given up seven points per game — including 30 in a thrilling 38-30 victory over Brunswick. In the two losses, the Vikings have given up 26 points per game.

The defense will have another opportunity at pulling out a win for Lowndes this week. On paper, the Vikings matchup well against the Wildcat’s offense.

Most of Lowndes’ struggles on the defensive side of the ball have come against teams that present the threat of the run and the pass.

Both Colquitt County and Brunswick were able to have success by spreading out Lowndes’ defense and mixing up the play calls with a balance of run and pass to keep the Vikings on their collective toes.

But Lowndes’ defense has been downright dominant against teams that prefer to do most of their work on the ground.

The Vikings allow just 78.2 yards per game on the ground at a paltry 2.9 yards per carry.

Camden County has the personnel to test Lowndes’ run defense with six players among the top 20 in the region in rushing yards, led by Tyler Rauls and Antonio Wimbush with 420 and 388 yards respectively.

Factoring in the Wildcats’ two Alabama bound, Division I prospects corner Kalvaraz Bessent and safety Chris Williams, this game has the makings of a defensive struggle in the mold of the 2013 Winnersville Classic.

A win tonight has big implications for both teams.

Camden County will be in a position to capture its 13th consecutive region title (second straight in 1-6A) by defeating Lowndes this week with a showdown with Colquitt County coming the following week.

With a victory over the Wildcats, the Vikings assure a finish of no worse than second in the region, but Lowndes would still need Camden to win big the following week to make up the disadvantage from the 30-point spread from the 37-7 loss to Colquitt County on Sept. 27.

 Lowndes coach Randy McPherson is looking to earn just his third win over Camden County in his coaching career. McPherson has gone 2-5 all-time against Camden County while no other Georgia school has been able to beat him more than three times.

Unfortunately, McPherson refused comment.

Fans staying at home can still listen to the Vikings big game in Kingsland on 99.5 FM.

Lowndes will be off next week before the beginning of the Georgia High School Football Playoffs on Nov. 15.

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