Lowndes finished the 2018 season with a semifinal exit against the eventual champions by an 11 point deficit.
In 2019 they hope to right the ship.
At least according to defensive coordinator, Byron Slack.
Slack spoke at the ITG Next media day in place of Vikes head coach Randy McPherson who was unable to attend the event.
“You’re only as good as your last game and these kids have really taken to that mentality,” Slack said. “We’re anxious to get the year going and to see. Just to see.”
Slack spoke about the returning players for the Vikings and touched on almost every position on both sides of the ball.
He spoke about quarterbacks Jacurri Brown and Tristin Bohler competing for the starting spot and running backs Gary Osby and Isreal Mitchell trying to fill the void left by Travis Tisdale.
He spoke about receivers Cornelius Wright and Ghetti Brown heading the receiving core and linemen Bryer Touchton and Jacarri Williams being the guys upfront.
Defensively, the Vikes are returning a lot of players who dealt with the struggle of competing against tough offenses.
Thomas Davis, Jacques Hunter, Leon Williams and Jaylon Jones will make up the front for for the Vikings.
Osby, Devonn Lane, Hayden Wells and Cade Powell are the inside linebackers and will be coached by Slack this season.
Tiberius Drocea will be utilized in many different ways for the Vikings: as a backer—inside and outside—covering receivers, punting and returning punts as well.
Lowndes will use three players as safeties with Shawn Martin, T. J. Quinn, Brandon Brown.
The corner positions will see Josh Brown and Tylar Belchar with Caleb Roberts finding a home at cornerback behind those two.
Slack also touched on the schedule for the Vikings where they’ll face five teams that were given rankings by High School Football America.
Colquitt Co. is ranked No. 12, Miami Northwestern is ranked No. 24, Parkview is ranked 37, with Valdosta and Bainbridge receiving honorable mentions.
In honesty, the Vikings schedule seems more like a playoff gauntlet than a regular season schedule.
It begins with a pre-season scrimmage at Bainbridge who are the reigning 5A state champions. It then turns into a three-game home stand against Drew, nine-win Champagnat Christian, and Parkview—the team that delivered the Vikings first loss last season.
The Vikings hit the road for a three hour trek and first regular season road game against East Coweta next.
Which catapults into what will likely be playoff caliber matches for the remainder of the season.
They play Miami Northwestern at home on Sept. 20 and face the Valdosta Wildcats in the Winnersville Classic the ensuing week.
They’ll have three consecutive road games against Ware Co., Tift, and Camden with the two latter games opening region play.
Colquitt Co. comes to town to conclude the regular season on Nov. 1 in what could potentially decide the final standings in Region 1-7A.
When asked about the steepness of the schedule Slack had a simple response.
“We want to see,” Slack said with a smile. “We always want to see. I think at Lowndes High that’s just something that is expected. There’s never going to be a situation where you go ‘what if’ through your schedule. That’s a testament to coach McPherson always staying ahead of that and always looking for opportunities to challenge our kids, to challenge us as coaches and challenge our program to be what it is.”
While the Vikings have a tough regular season schedule, the offseason schedule has not been a slouch either. They faced Warner Robins in the spring game, Thomasville and Brooks in 7-on-7 competition, hosted a home-and-home organized team activity with Coffee and have another one scheduled with 6A champions Lee this week.
The trial by fire has prepared the Vikings for what they will see in the regular season and it will possibly even result in them becoming the fire.
“It forces you to get out there when you’re playing quality opponents,” Slack said. “You can’t let up. Even in the summer … you say trial by fire … we want to end up being the fire. Through trial by fire. We want to make it hot.”
The Vikings will conclude their summer schedule with home-and-home ota’s with Lee before having a four-day camp to finish their summer.