—The Lowndes Vikings shut out the Burke County Bears 36-0 on Friday night on Homecoming to improve to 4-1. Head coach Randy McPherson said Homecoming is exciting for fans, but it can drive a coach crazy. McPherson said he can’t remember how many times a Vikings’ player has won Homecoming King, but he knows it happened Friday. Tyler Hunter received the honor.
—McPherson praised the Bears and said they were solid across the board, with good athletes. He said freshman quarterback Donquell Green “is going to be something.” Green had 90 rushing yards against the Vikings.
—McPherson said he was proud of all the players for playing a full 48 minutes, and he was pleased the second team defense didn’t allow a point against the Bears’ first team offense. He credited Tiquan Lang for making a nice interception in the end zone late in the game that killed a Burke County drive.
—McPherson was also pleased with his offensive line’s ability to open holes for the running backs and move Burke County’s solid defensive line off the ball. The offensive line helped clear the way for 325 rushing yards. Once again, McPherson was pleased the Vikings didn’t turn the ball over for the second straight week.
—Cole Parker connected with receiver Josh Clemons on two big pass plays in one-on-one coverage, one of which was a touchdown. McPherson said the Bears were so concerned with covering Troy Braswell in the flat that they left the outside receivers in man coverage, and Clemons was able to get behind the corners.
—McPherson said Clemons, a junior, is the only player he’s ever coached who can play defensive end, linebacker, safety, receiver and tight end. He said Clemons could probably play offensive line if he asked him.
—The Vikings were penalized eight times for 85 yards. McPherson said the team will get better in that area.
—Kicker Jed Solomon came up short on a 53-yard field goal attempt as the first half expired. Solomon was set up for a 48-yard attempt, but the Vikings snapped the ball before the official signaled ready for play and received a five-yard penalty. McPherson said 48 yards is within Solomon’s range.
—McPherson added that special teams has been much improved since the beginning of the season.
—McPherson listed the coaching staff’s players of the week. Sophomore center Trevor Scarborough was the offensive player of the week, senior linebacker Chris Scurry was the defensive player of the week, sophomore running back Jordan “Cowboy” Williams was the special teams player of the week and senior defensive tackle Mian Shafiq was the scout team player of the week.
—The star athlete of the week was Scurry. The senior has moved back to Mike linebacker after starting the season at Will linebacker. He said he likes the Mike position better because it’s more about tackling and less about coverage.
—Scurry said when he’s not playing football he likes to hang out with teammates Josh Clemons and Troy Braswell.
—Scurry runs track at Lowndes. He’s on the 4x100 meter relay team and runs the second leg of the race.
—This Friday, the Vikings travel to Waycross to renew their non-region rivalry with the Ware County Gators (3-0). McPherson said it’s been a great rivalry, long before he even arrived at Lowndes. He called it a “friendly rivalry.”
—Ware County returns 11 starters off a team that went 6-6 and lost to Griffin in the second round of the playoffs. Lowndes won last year’s game in Waycross 41-0. First-year starting quarterback Josh Bennett was named the offense’s MVP in the Gators win over Coffee to start the season.
—McPherson said last season the Gators offense operated mainly from the spread, but this year it looks like the Gators are running the I-formation with two backs. He said the Gators are a run-first team.
—McPherson said on defense, the Gators run an eight-man front, or a 4-4. He said it’s a defense built on speed. He remembers from last year the unit was quick and blitzed a lot.
—McPherson expects it to be a good game with a college atmosphere. He said he hopes the Vikings will execute on offense and continue to build on the shutout last week on defense.
—McPherson said practice has been spirited this week. He said the offensive line is improving on fundamentals such as footwork and hand placement, and the unit has been handling the ball better. On defense, McPherson thinks the Vikings have turned a corner on not allowing big plays. He said the key is to not have any lulls.
—McPherson said on Friday the team will eat its pregame meal in Valdosta, then leave around 4 p.m. and arrive in Waycross around 5 p.m. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.