Greatest rivalry on turf: No. 1 Vikings trying to extend Winnersville streak

Dave Sundin | Special to the TimesLowndes quarterback Jacurri Brown is tackled by a host of Wildcats during the 2019 Winnersville Classic. 

VALDOSTA—Well, it is time for the one everyone has been waiting for.

The 58-year old Winnersville Classic rivalry will be reignited on Friday at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium.

The Vikings of Lowndes will be heading across town to Valdosta High’s house in hopes of give them their fourth straight loss to them in the Winnersville Classic.

The last time Valdosta prevailed against Lowndes was in the 2016 matchup, where they won 38-13 on the way to a 14-2 season where they won the 6A State Championship over Tucker.

Both schools head coaches are entering their first Winnersville classic as Lowndes’ Jamey DuBose and Valdosta’s Rush Propst are in their respective first years as head coaches.

The Vikings are 4-0 and returning from a bye-week and while Valdosta is 2-1 and has had a roller coaster of events happen this season.

University of Southern California committed transfer quarterback Jake Garcia was ruled ineligible for his senior season. The Wildcats Oct. 2 matchup against Thomas County Central was also canceled due to players and coaches being in quarantine.

So, the playing ground has been evened with both teams not being on the field since September 25.

Vikings quarterback Jacurri Brown is excited for this edition of the Winnersville Classic—from the historic stature of the rivalry and the want to win for the seniors.

“We’re trying to get the seniors to 4-0 against Valdosta in their high school career,” Brown said. “It’s good vibes and we’re hoping to have fun.”

Linebacker Thomas Davis is treating this week’s game no different to any other and not getting caught in the hype.

“We look at every game as a day to get better,” the senior said. “We don’t really believe in the hype so we going to go out there and ball as Lowndes.”

Without downplaying the magnitude of the Winnersville Classic, head coach Jamey DuBose is prepping for his first game against Valdosta just like he would for any other team.

“We’re going to approach the Valdosta game like we approached the Lee County game,” DuBose said. “Lee County and Oakleaf were excellent football teams. I’m a firm believer that we have a process in this building and will use it to prepare to win every week.”

It was announced this week that the game would be broadcasted on ESPN2 and the Vikings are looking at it as an opportunity to showcase the entire Valdosta community.

“I like it because it showcases our community, schools, and the people who are here on both sides,” DuBose said. “It gives the kids an opportunity to be seen. It is one of the greatest rivalries in the country and I am just blessed to a part of the history of it. Hopefully, we will go out and prove ourselves.”

The game will kick off at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium at 8 p.m. on Oct. 9.

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