WAYCROSS –– If you shoot for the crown –– or the ranking, in this case –– you’d best not miss.
No. 1 Lowndes (7-0) used two blocked punts and three touchdowns in the third quarter to defeat Ware County (3-3) 45-7.
About a minute before the end of the first half, the two teams got into a shoving match on the Lowndes sideline with the Vikings leading 17-7. The Ware County student section began to chant “overrated” at the Vikings afterwards, and continued it sporadically until the end of the quarter.
Despite having the lead, the Vikings were stagnant offensively similar to the first half of the East Coweta game.
They stalled out on the final drive before the half and went into the locker room clutching their 10-point advantage.
The Vikings tried to go uptempo out of the half, but a player punched the ball out of quarterback Jacurri Brown’s hands and into the air.
The Gators recovered the ball and tried to mount a scoring drive with the short field, only to be stopped by the Concrete Curtain. On the ensuing Lowndes drive, Brown led the Vikings 64 yards for a touchdown.
The drive included a nearly 40-yard run by Brown, where he ran with a host of Ware players draped over him.
Brown had two turnovers in the game but bounced back to get the Vikings a score when they needed a spark of momentum.
“As a quarterback you’ve got to have short memory,” Brown said about his confidence after the game. “They’re going to make good plays. They're a good football team but we’re a good football team too. They’re going to make plays but you just have to keep moving on. I was really mad to be honest. I just had to run. Put my head down with a head full of steam and just run. Takeover.”
Brown’s ability to discard mistakes helped the Vikings but he was not the hero of the game.
That honor goes to Ramecia Burgman.
He blocked two Ware County punts and gave Lowndes the ball inside the 10 each time.
As a result, the offense was able to score twice from the Plowboy formation and take a 31 point lead by the start of the fourth quarter.
“He’s shown a lot of promise in practice the last couple of weeks and we decided to go with him as our punt block guy,” head coach Randy McPherson said after the game. “He’s going to be there the rest of the year I can tell you that … that was 14 points right there. That kind of sealed the deal.”
The hot third quarter showed the strength of the Vikings.
They didn’t need the extra motivation, but Ware sure provided it.
“We didn’t hear it, we couldn’t care if we heard it or not,” Shawn Martin said on the fans chanting overrated. “We’re not overrated. We’re just playing our football and doing what we’ve got to do.”
Lowndes wraps up non-region play undefeated and as the top-ranked school in 7A. They’ll have a bye-week next Friday before traveling to Tift on Oct. 18 to open region play.
“We’re feeling good,” defensive coordinator Byron Slack said. “We’re about to get a much-needed break. I think about our eight-week schedule and who we went after and it was tough. We scrimmaged Bainbridge and that was preseason. Everybody we played had capable people … so we’re getting a much needed break to try to get everybody healed up and get ready for region play.”