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Nation's no. 2 team too much for BI
Tigers knocked out of playoffs in second round
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VALDOSTA — Quickly scoring 28 unanswered points in the first quarter and leading 48-7 by halftime, the Lowndes County Vikings dashed the Tigers’ hope of advancing to the state quarterfinals.
Lowndes defeated Bradwell 62-21 Friday night at Martin Stadium.
But the Tigers did something for head coach Jim Walsh he said he was very proud of, “They never gave up and kept fighting until the end and that is all I asked them to do.”
The Vikings and the Tigers exchanged fumbles in their opening offensive drives, but it was the Tigers’ fumble that gave the Vikings their first touchdown. Another Tiger fumble allowed the Vikings their fourth touchdown of the night before the first quarter ended.
The Tiger offense was held to only 109 yards in the first half but Tiger running back Sheldon Barnes ended the evening with 135 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries. Mike McGirt returned every kick for 10 or more yards. Wilson Brown came into the game in the fourth quarter and added a Tiger touchdown. Manuel Crum scored a touchdown and an interception.
But it was the speed of Vikings Ronald Anderson and Greg Reid that helped the the Valdosta team get 422 yards of total offense and the victory.
“We didn’t give up, but we just made too many mistakes in the beginning of the game and got down quick,” Walsh said. “We couldn’t get anything to generate in our offense until late in the second quarter.”
The Tigers did come out to start the third with another touchdown and the defense stepped up, holding Lowndes to only 14 points in the second half.
“We came back out the second half and scored again and I felt it was OK and we were getting it going,” Walsh said. “But then we struggled for a while until we scored again near the end of the fourth quarter. But you have to give Lowndes credit. They are ranked second in the nation for a reason. They have an outstanding football team and more speed than we ever faced this year.”
Walsh told his players before the game to never sell themselves short and believe they could win. The Tigers may have been behind but they were never out.
“I was proud of our kids and how we hung in there and didn’t throw in the towel and they kept fighting until the end,” Walsh said. “You know that is going to help because we have a great core of kids coming back next year and Wilson Brown got some reps to gain some confidence in his knee. We’ll just have to work hard in the off season and next year we’ll work harder to get beyond the second round.”
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