tom.mark@gaflnews.com



TIFTON -- After getting off to a slow start, the Lowndes High Vikings scored 20 second quarter points on the way to a 27-2 win over the Tift County Blue Devils in Region 1-AAAAA high school football action here Friday night at Brodie Field.

Early on it looked like it would be a long night for the visiting Vikings. The Blue Devils grabbed a 2-0 lead when Lowndes' Freeman Stephens was caught in the end zone by Tift's Marcus Daughtry with 3:45 left in the first quarter.

"Tift played us tough, especially in the first half," said Lowndes head coach Randy McPherson. "They whipped us up front.

"Then after we settled down, we started executing and started making some plays."

The Vikings got on the scoreboard midway through the second period when Michael Warren went in from the one-yard line. The pass failed, but Lowndes had all of the points it would need on the night.

"We had some opportunities, but we couldn't cash in," said Tift County head football coach Tommy Seward.

"We were in good shape after the first quarter. We were playing them in their end of the field. We were right where anybody would want to be."

Following the first Lowndes touchdown, the Blue Devils went out on downs and Lowndes took over on the Tift 46. It took just four plays before Octavius Everett burst up the middle for a 29-yard scoring run. Yancy Hartman added the kick.

The Vikings' final score of the half was an 18-yard scoring pass from quarterback Brandon Ponder to Warren with only one second remaining in the half. Again, Hartman was successful with the PAT.

Lowndes had another chance to stretch the lead but a nine-play drive ended with a missed 30-yard field goal in the third quarter.

The Vikings would add one more score when Stephens raced around the end and streaked up the sideline for an 86-yard run.

"We were a little disappointed in our play last week against Valdosta," McPherson said, "but our kids came out and worked real hard all week.

"Our defense played a great game. In fact, this was probably our best defensive game this year."

Lowndes held the Blue Devils to just 55 yards rushing. In the air, the Devils were eight of 22 for 67 yards. Four interceptions were thrown; two by starting quarterback Josh Allen, one by Justin DeBerry on a half-back pass and another by backup QB Josh Bowen.

"Josh (Allen) never did get into a rhythm tonight," Seward said. "Overall, I think we had a chance to beat them, if we could have mustered a little more offense and kept the defense off the field a few more minutes."

Allen provided the only significant rushing yardage, carrying the ball 13 times for 46 yards, including one run of 23 yards.

Everett led the Vikings with 107 yards on 19 carries. Stephens had 103 yards on six carries.

Despite the loss, the Blue Devils are still in the hunt for a playoff spot after the Coffee Trojans beat the Colquitt County Packers 3-0 Friday night in Moultrie.

"We're still breathing," said Seward.



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