TIFTON –– Lowndes football (8-0, 1-0 region 1-7A) dealt with the Blue Devils to win their first region game.
The Vikings flipped a scoreless game at halftime into a 28 point road shutout against Tift County (3-5, 0-1 Region 1-7A), remaining undefeated through their first eight games.
The Blue Devils opened the game slow and physical, exhausting six minutes of game clock on their opening drive. In turn, their defense played with swarming speed and the intensity of a team that wanted to upset the top-ranked Vikings.
The two teams traded body blows through the first two quarters and were at a standstill heading into halftime. The typically explosive running that headlined the Vikings offense was kept in check by the Blue Devils. It marked the first time that Lowndes didn't score in a half.
Out of the half, Lowndes opened the playbook and got their receiving core active.
On a second and long they attempted to find Tony Wiseman on a slant route that would’ve picked up first down yardage. Wiseman couldn’t reel in the pass and the down was lost.
The Vikings went to the same play on third down and Jacurri Brown connected with Dominique Marshall for a 64-yard touchdown.
It was the starting success of a trend of passing plays in the game for the Vikings.
“I probably should’ve done that earlier,” Lowndes head coach Randy McPherson said on passing the ball more in the game. “They were packing it in there on us, that’s for sure.”
A large part of the Vikings success through the air was the consistency of the receivers. Lowndes finished 8-of-16 in the game with 126 yards through the air and many of the incompletions came from passes that weren’t catchable.
“We were known coming into this game that we could run the ball real well but they doubted that we could throw the ball,” senior receiver Ghetti Brown said. “Through all the practice, I knew we had it in us. I knew that all the time spent during the summer, all the routes we ran … all the receivers we got it in us.”
Brown finished with three receptions for 48 yards and Marshall finished with three receptions for 70 yards and a touchdown.
They displayed a dimension off offense that was previously stagnant and it bailed them out of a potentially close game.
Once the Vikings led, they were able to apply pressure with the Concrete Curtain and force two Tift interceptions—the second of which was a pick six by senior Tiberius Drocea.
“I saw the ball go in the air and it went 20 feet in the air,” Drocea said after the game. “When I saw it I had to get it. It was I was either going to get it and score or I was going to get it right there … I had to get the ball.”
The pick six was an exclamation point to a statement road win.
Lowndes can focus on their next region opponent, Camden County, who loss 34-17 to Colquitt County for its first loss of the season.
“It’s a region one football game and it’s going to be tough regardless who you’re playing or what their record is,” defensive coordinator Byron Slack said. “It’s a region one football game. That is what we want. We believe we’re built for that.”