August 16, 2006
Valdosta - The Lowndes High Vikings are ranked number one in the state in the high school football preseason poll.
But that ranking is more likely due to what the Vikings have done in the past two years with 29 wins in 30 games and two state titles.
This season, the Vikings will try for a three-peat with almost an entirely different cast.
Lowndes head coach Randy McPherson said "They have worked hard in this program. They have been a part of this program for a long time. It is their turn to go out and play now."
Coach McPherson returns only five starters from a team that has won two consectutive state titles.
But those five are very good football players with defensive ends Devaris Leonard and Joe Rogers, linebacker Krys Brooks, running back Darriet Perry and lineman Jack Schroepfer.
And the returning starters know the younger players will be looking to them for leadership.
Senior defensive end Joe Rogers said "Me, I especially have to step it up this year. Being a senior and also playing on the other two state championship teams, they are looking at me being a positive role model on and off the field. "
And the Viking seniors also know that even though they may have lost a majority of last year's team, they are still considered to be kings of the mountain.
Senior defensive end/offensive guard Jack Schroepfer said "We have got a target on our back. Two state championships in a row, everybody wants to beat us. If they beat us, it is a winning season."
McPherson said "We have got along way to go like I said but the kids they are fired up and they are working as hard as they can."
And the new look Vikings will face a test in their first game. Lowndes opens the season on the road in Marietta against a Harrison High team that won nine games last year.