VALDOSTA –– It’s gotta be the jerseys.
The No. 2 Lowndes Vikings (4-0) debuted new grey Jordan Brand uniforms in their 38-13 drubbing of the Lee County Trojans (2-1) Friday night.
The win gave them their 14th straight regular season victory and an undefeated record in their 2020 campaign.
The Trojans received the ball first, but were met by a stingy Viking defense as they were forced to punt on their own 26 after a three-and-out. However, the punt did not even get away since the ball was snapped over Austin Hunt’s head and downed for a safety to give Lowndes a 2-0 lead with 10:42 left in the first quarter.
There were a lot of stoppages within the first 20 minutes of actual playing time. Only two-and-a-half minutes ran off the clock during that time span, stemming from penalties and both teams burning a timeout.
With 3:49 left in the first quarter, the Vikings got into the end zone for the first time of the night with Jacurri Brown taking advantage of an overload defense to take off for a 65-yard touchdown to get a 9-0 lead.
“Lee gave us a lot of things that worried me offensively, but I was proud to see our guys handle those things,” Vikings head coach Jamey DuBose said. “We had to use the big play a little bit but that’s fine. However, we got to get wins, we’ll take it.”
Thomas Davis ran rampant in his first game back from injury in the first quarter, securing two tackles for loss and making drive-saving stops early in the game.
“Thomas is one piece of a puzzle that a lot of people fit into," DuBose said. "He does his job and does what he is supposed to do. He’s an emotional leader for them."
In the second quarter, the Vikings gained a two-possession lead when Brown scored on a shifty 40-yard scramble to open up a 15-0 lead with 5:44 to go in the half.
“We knew they were giving us field blitz," DuBose explained. "We did a kick out and read the guy coming off the ball and he was able to get up under it and catch the blitz to get to the house again."
The Trojans were not ready to go away.
First, they kept a drive alive after faking a punt to Jerrod Woods, who gained 12 yards.
Later in the drive, Chauncey Magwood called his own number and scored a 14-yard quarterback keeper to bring their deficit to nine with 1:21 left in the first half.
But that was enough time for the Vikings.
After multiple tries at making significant progress towards the endzone, Jacurri Brown connected with Dominque Marshall on a 39-yard throw before the half to grab a 22-6 lead headed to the locker room.
“We may have should have taken more deep shots," DuBose said. "I thought we had them, but they were sending a lot of pressure after us and we had to pick the right times to go after it. Our offensive coordinator Ryan Nelson and his staff did a great job of getting us in the right places and made the right call."
When the second half began, there was a slight shift in momentum after Lee’s head coach, Dean Fabrizio was ejected soon after the third quarter began on a Vikings offensive drive.
The Trojans’ defense forced them to settle for three as they seemed to have an adrenaline rush after their coach was thrown out.
After the Trojan offense could not score, their defense held up once again, sacking Brown for an 18-yard loss to force a punt.
Yet again, the Trojans' offense simply could not score.
The Trojans subbed in Smith Pinson and moved Magwood to receiver.
Pinson was picked off by Tylar Belcher, who returned it to the three-yard line, and it was followed by an Israel Mitchell 1-yard touchdown score two plays later.
The Vikings final score came when Brown ran in his third touchdown of the evening for eight yards with 7 minutes left to give him 150 yards and three scores on the ground.
Lee scored once more in garbage time on a five-yard Caleb McDowell run with three minutes remaining.
The Vikings will now enter their bye week with an undefeated 4-0 record.
“Right now, we’re a little beat up and hurting right now. It has been a physical run through four games. We got to get some people healed and time to rest. This bye week is coming at a great time. I could not pick a better time for it to come. We just have to get back in there and get some people healed up and hopefully we’ll be 100 percent and going again,” DuBose said.
When the Vikings return from the bye week, they will be on the big stage against Valdosta High in the Winnersville Classic Oct. 9 at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium.