christian.malone@gaflnews.com



VALDOSTA -- So what did the Valdosta Wildcats do last week, with no game to play?

They took Monday and Friday off. And those other three days, they "got after it," as head coach Mike O'Brien said.

"We had a good week of practice," O'Brien said. "We went in and worked on our fundamentals, which it never hurts to do."

They also began preparing for Warner Robins, their opponent Friday night in the first round of the playoffs. The Wildcats and the Demons exchanged videotapes, as upcoming opponents usually do in football, last Tuesday, so both had most of last week to look at each other.

Will the extra week of practice, and the extra week to prepare for Warner Robins, help the Wildcats?

"We'll find out Friday," O'Brien said. "If we win, then yes it did."

And yes, the Wildcats began putting the difficult loss to Lowndes behind them, a process that began soon after the game ended.

"Friday (Nov. 9), the kids were pretty dejected after the Lowndes game," O'Brien said. "We took them back to the school, and we told them that we didn't play well, but that the coaches weren't blaming anyone, and they shouldn't, either. Then we told them we'd go back to work Tuesday, and we did.

"No one's blamed anyone else for what happened. The seniors have shown good leadership, and that's helped."

O'Brien thinks his players have put the Lowndes game behind them.

"If we let it destroy us, it could, but we're not going to let it," the sixth-year head coach said. "The kids came back Tuesday with good attitudes, and they were ready to work. We worked hard this week They know they've got to play better than they did (against Lowndes)."

No injuries have been reported for Valdosta. O'Brien confirmed that several players were banged up, and some were even held out of a couple drills this week, but everyone will be ready Friday.

The Wildcats will be practicing each day this week, including their traditional Thanksgiving morning practice.



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