October 22, 2002
It just doesn't seem right. Valdosta versus Lowndes in October? Valdosta head coach Mike O'Brien said, "Whenever it is, it's a big game. Whether it's the opening game, closing game, or middle game. It's always going to be a big game."
It's the first time in 18 years that the Winnersville Classic will not be played on the final week of the regular season. But it's also the first time Lowndes head coach Randy McPherson will be on the sidelines in the battle for city bragging rights. And although it's his first taste of the rivalry he can already sense the different atmosphere this game brings. "Yes it is (different). The excitement, the kids are all excited, the people, the fans are excited. Everybody wants tickets, it's a different type of deal," Lowndes head coach Randy McPherson said.
But forget about the fact that this game is earlier than usual or that Randy McPherson will be coaching in just his first Winnersville Classic. The real story line this week is that the Vikings will be going for their fourth straight win over the Wildcats, a stat that doesn't sit too well with the Valdosta seniors.
"Well 1-0 is bad enough, but (Lowndes) going 4-0 I just can't see it. I just can't," Valdosta senior Eric Williams said.
That's because it's never been done, and in order for the Wildcats to ensure that it never does they'll need to play mistake free football. "It all comes down to mistakes, big plays, and who makes the most of them and who eliminates them," O'Brien said.
Both teams enter Friday's game undefeated in the region and ranked in the top ten in the state, so even though the date for the Winnersville classic may be different, nothing has really seemed to change.