VALDOSTA -- With no game to prepare for this week, Lowndes High head coach Randy McPherson and his staff are using the time to work on something else.

Their own team.

This is Lowndes' off week. The Vikings, 4-0 and ranked No. 4 in the state, have two weeks until they travel to Camden County on Oct. 3. They'll prepare for Camden next week. This week, they're worrying about themselves.

"I still think we've got a ways to go," McPherson said. "I feel like we could have played better (last Friday). I think the kids feel they could have played better. I'm not saying we didn't play hard, because we did. We just have to improve."

Lowndes staged a classic comeback against AAAA power Ware County, scoring three times in the final 2:30 to win 19-17. McPherson was pleased with a victory, and pleased with the comeback his team pulled off, but knows the Vikings still need work.

First and foremost, McPherson expressed a desire to improve the team's fundamentals.

"We're trying to focus on fundamentals," McPherson said. "Fundamentals and getting better at the basics of the game. We're trying to get better at what we do.

"At this time of year, you can't overlook fundamentals. I think that is the single most important thing in playing the game of football soundly. You can draw up all the plays, all the offensive schemes, anything you want, but if the players can't block, can't run the ball, can't pass the ball, can't catch the ball, you're wasting time."

The Vikings remained a healthy team. Only quarterback Jake Walker (concussion) is on the sidelines. Everyone else is healthy enough to play.

Defense, offense improving

McPherson says his team is improving on both sides of the ball, and on special teams.

The defense has generally been considered the Vikings' strength all year, and rightfully so. Lowndes has shut out two teams, and held ranked teams Macon Westside and Ware under 20 points.

McPherson was pleased with the defense's effort Friday. Ware scored on the opening drive, which began with a 41-yard pass play. But after that, LHS eliminated the big play, a must against the Gators. Ware had just 122 yards passing and 249 yards of total offense.

"Defensively, we gave them that score early, but other than that, we played them pretty tough," McPherson said. "But we've still got a ways to go over there."

The offense moved the ball effectively against Ware, though five Viking drives into Ware territory ended without points. The Vikings' wing-T offense rushed for 197 yards on 40 carries, and threw for 66 more. Lowndes was using a sophomore quarterback, Doug Belk, making his first start.

"We are getting better on offense," McPherson said. "Doug's got a game under his belt now, and I think he's more comfortable. We've got to make the plays. You can't jump offsides on 4th-and-inches, or miss a block."

"We had more yards than them, but yards don't count."

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