VALDOSTA – An arduous season for the Valdosta Wildcats comes down to one final game.

Winners of three of their last four games, the 'Cats (4-5, 1-1 Region 1-6A) host the Lee County Trojans (8-1, 2-0) tonight at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium.

After destroying Houston County 48-6 last week, Valdosta head coach Shelton Felton looked ahead to this week's game, calling it the team's "Super Bowl".

“Lee County is great program. Coach (Dean) Fabrizio does a good job over there,” Felton said after the win. “It’s our Super Bowl. It’s our state championship. So, we’re gonna bring our A-game and we’re gonna be ready. They’re a very talented team, but they’re coming to us and one thing I want my guys to do is show up, have fun and play Wildcat football. At the end of the day, we’ll look up in the fourth quarter and see what the score is.”

WHO IS LEE COUNTY?

The Trojans come to town on a three-game winning streak that saw them defeat North Miami Beach 68-49 in their final non-region game before dispatching Houston County 29-9 Oct. 15 and Northside 41-7 last week.

For the season, the Trojans are averaging a robust 45 points per contest while allowing 19.8 on average.

Freshman running back Ousmane Kromah currently ranks second in Region 1-6A in rushing at an even 1,300 yards this season and leads the region with 16 rushing touchdowns. Senior running back Julius McClellan ranks fourth, just behind Valdosta's Terrell Denson, with 515 yards rushing on the year.

Trojans sophomore quarterback Chris Martin, Region 1-6A's leading passer, is the only 1,000-yard passer in the region this year at 1,091 yards. The 6-1, 175-pound Martin has 16 touchdowns and is completing 57.2% of his throws.

Martin's top target, junior Jevell Fugerson, has a region-leading 39 catches for 640 yards and seven touchdowns while senior tight end and Arkansas commit Tyrus Washington has caught 20 balls for 267 yards with four scores.

LAST GAME FOR THE 'CATS

Last week, the 'Cats racked up 411 yards of offense against the Bears – 383 coming on the ground. Junior running back Ahmad Denson led the way with 10 carries for 120 yards and two touchdowns. 

Senior Terrell Denson had 12 carries for 89 yards with one touchdown. Senior Kaleb Robinson added seven carries for 45 yards with a touchdown. Young backs Jordan Gatlin and Charles Williams also made an impact as the duo combined for seven carries for 111 yards and two second-half scores.

Defensively, the 'Cats have allowed the fewest points of any team in the Region 1-6A at 16.3 per game. In region play, the 'Cats have allowed 19 points total.

That defense showed its teeth against the Bears, holding them to just 122 yards of total offense.

The ‘Cats harassed the Bears’ backfield early and often as they racked up eight sacks in the game. Seniors Jaylin Berrian and Jacquez McGowan had nine tackles each, with McGowan adding two sacks and four tackles for loss. Senior defensive back Jalen Yearby had seven tackles and four tackles for loss, while sophomore defensive end Eric Brantley had six tackles (four for loss) and three sacks in the win.

“Our goal was to win up front,” Felton said of his defense. “Our linebackers played good. We played man coverage and we were able to bring pressure. We just challenged our guys. They were the No. 1 rushing team in our region and we’re the No. 1 rushing defense. In order to do that, you’ve got to stop the run and our guys rose to the occasion. I’m proud of every last one of them, even the coaching staff.”

The ‘Cats held the Bears to two first downs the entire night and 1 of 11 on third down. Overall, the Bears punted nine times with three getting blocked. Senior Nevin Spivey blocked two punts, while Camren Bailey blocked the other. Senior Isaiah Holland blocked a field goal in the game as well.

ALL-TIME

Valdosta faces a tall task as they look to take down a Lee County team that has won the region the last four years. All-time, Valdosta holds an 8-3 edge but hasn't beaten Lee since 2017.

MAKING IT OFFICIAL

The Valdosta City Schools Board of Education voted unanimously to make interim head coach Shelton Felton the permanent head coach during a meeting on Tuesday. In three seasons as a head coach, Felton has compiled a record of 20-13; headlined by a 13-1 record in his second year at Crisp County in 2016 that saw him lead the Cougars to the GHSA Class 3A state semifinals.

WHEN AND WHERE

Kickoff for tonight's game is scheduled for 8 p.m. at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium.

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