The Valdosta Daily Times
The results are final. The Lowndes Vikings won the game and the record books will reflect that outcome.
The Vikings will not be stripped of their 17-14 win over the Colquitt County Packers on Friday night, according to Georgia High School Association Executive Director Ralph Swearngin.
“Once the game is played and it’s over with, there is no mechanism to undue any results of any games,” Swearngin told the Thomasville Times Enterprise. “That’s completely off the table. If there are allegations of ethics violations or procedural violations from the GHSA by-laws, then of course, there could be institutional penalties assessed which would largely be fines. But then again, I don’t speculate because I don’t know what went on.
“Basically, nothing’s going to happen to overturn the results of the game.”
The Vikings are accused by Colquitt County head coach Rush Propst of using a Thomas County Central middle school coach to steal the Packers’ offensive signals during Friday’s game.
Swearngin also said the GHSA has not officially received any formal allegations of wrongdoing related to the allegations by Propst.
“I am aware that there are some concerns and there probably will be some things sent to the GHSA office, but we haven’t seen anything yet,” Swearngin told the Enterprise. “I have been told that something will be sent to us. I don’t know exactly what and I don’t know when.”
Although controversy and abrupt allegations surround the Vikings’ win over the Packers, the Vikings are pleased with their performance and their 1-0 region record.
“We played a very good game,” Lowndes head coach Randy McPherson said. “The coaches had a really good game plan and the kids executed it to perfection. We weren’t real fancy. We pressured them a lot, our defense, and I am very, very proud of that group over there.”
The Vikings’ defense allowed its first touchdown since the season opening win over Luella, ending a three-game shutout streak. Regardless, the Viking defense was impressive Friday night by holding the Packers to just 8 yards rushing.
The lack of running game forced Colquitt County to turn to its passing game, which allowed the Vikings to bring pressure, record sacks and intercept three Packer passes, including one on the final drive of the game with less than 20 seconds to play.
“When we did so well against the run, it made it a whole lot easier to call a blitz,” McPherson said.
The Vikings sacked the two Packer quarterbacks (Cole Seagraves and Daniel Mobley) three times on the night. No two sacks were more important than the two that occurred inside the final minute, on the Packers’ potential game-tying or game-winning drive.
“The two sacks were it,” McPherson said. “Those were two really huge plays, but there were so many kids out there making plays on the defensive side of the ball. It is hard to single out one guy.
“Moultrie played extremely hard and it was certainly a game that either team could have won,” McPherson said. “It was just a great football game. They are a very good football team.”
Offensively, the Vikings’ only production came on the ground. None of Lowndes’ 219 yards came through the air as quarterbacks Alex Stephenson and Seth Carlo combined to complete 1 of 5 passes for 0 yards passing and an interception, which Stephenson threw in the third quarter.
“We felt like we could run the ball,” McPherson said. “We also felt like we were going to be able to throw on them. But the deal was, most of the time we got stopped it was because of penalties. We stopped ourselves.”
The Vikings’ win Friday gives them a solid foundation to begin region play. With no weeks off until the end of the regular season, a win Friday for Lowndes was a must.
“That first game was definitely the key,” McPherson said. “I still think it is going to be really hard for one team to run the table in this region.”
Lowndes will host Brunswick Friday. The Pirates were idle last week while the Vikings visited Colquitt County. Friday will mark the second straight week the Vikings will face a team that is coming off a bye, as Colquitt County had the week before its game with Lowndes off, too. Valdosta is off this week and will host Lowndes the following week.
The weeks off for Lowndes’ opponents don’t bother McPherson or the Vikings. Last year, the Vikings were off the week before their annual showdown with the Valdosta Wildcats. They lost the game.
“You get into a room with all the teams there and you draw out of a hat,” said McPherson of the scheduling. “What you pull out is what you got. That is just the way it is.
“You can’t pay attention to (a week off),” McPherson continued. “Because you start thinking about this or that and this. You just got to go. You just go to play.”
Friday’s meeting between the Vikings and Pirates will be the first since the two teams met in the 1999 Class 5A state championship game, which Lowndes won 17-0. Although McPherson was not the head coach at Lowndes — he was at nearby Madison County (Fla.) — he said he remembers watching the game on his television.
“I did not make that game,” McPherson said. “It was sold out. I watched it on TV from Madison.”