Sep. 15—VALDOSTA — Fans in Lowndes County looking for a high school football game to attend won't have to travel far this week. All four high schools within the county's borders are not only playing this week, but playing at home.
Undefeated Lowndes (3-0) hosts undefeated East Coweta (4-0) at Martin Stadium in an 8 p.m. kickoff. Deerfield Beech (Fla.) meets Valdosta (3-1) at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium, also at 8 p.m. Valwood puts its undefeated record on the line against Robert Toombs Christian Academy in Hahira at 7:30 p.m. and, in another 7:30 kickoff, Georgia Christian will meet Florida's Aucilla Christian.
Though Lowndes has not lost a game this year, it was Valdosta who slid into the Class 7A rankings this week after thrashing Warner Robins Sept. 8.
Lowndes will have its toughest test of the young campaign this evening, facing an East Coweta team also not ranked. A win for either team should correct that omission next week.
East Coweta, traveling down from Sharpsburg, dominated Sandy Creek last week, 31-14. Sandy Creek was the No. 3 in Class 3A. The Indians have a balanced offense. MaxPreps stats give quarterback Cohen Peeples 740 yards and seven touchdowns in four games. Dionte Jones and Dural Thompson provide a 1-2 punch on the ground as Peeples does not seem to be a runner.
Lowndes has had to make second half comebacks in its last two contests, with its defense shutting down both opponents. Jacarre' Fleming has six rushing touchdowns in three outings. Marvis Parrish has but two touchdown tosses, but a bevy of receivers capable of taking it to the house at any time.
The Vikings' real strength has arguably been defensive for first-year head coach Adam Carter as they've snared nine interceptions, forced five punts and blocked a field goal. KJ Massey has three of the picks. Jaquan Thomas and Coleman Lewis have two apiece.
East Coweta won a shootout last year, 49-34, their first win in six games of the series.
Deerfield Beach brings a 1-2 mark to Valdosta for the first ever meeting between the two schools. The Bucks hail from the Fort Lauderdale area. They've beaten Coral Gables this year, but fell to Stranahan last week, 32-14. Deerfield went 3-8 a year ago, which included a game against Colquitt County.
Since their opening week loss at Massillon, the Wildcats have been cooking. Though they began slow at Cook, a fourth quarter surge earned Valdosta its first win of the year. Since then, they've bounced a solid Banneker squad, 48-7, and blasted 5A's No. 2 last week (Warner Robins), 45-12.
Valdosta has been doing everything right in all facets, from the running of Prince Jean and Shakevious Wright and Eric Brantley's presence on both sides of the ball. The 'Cats even got a boost last week in the return of quarterback Todd Robinson. The team has an impressive 14 rushing touchdowns in four games, with Jean at five. MaxPreps has their 13 runners averaging an amazing 7.1 yards per carry.
Brantley is now up to 18 tackles behind the line of scrimmage and four sacks.
After two easy wins, Valwood's Valiants meet Robert Toombs Christian Academy at Goddard Field. The Crusaders, who hail from Lyons, have won over Harvester Christian (Douglasville) and Briarwood Academy. Their only loss is to Pinewood Christian.
RTCA is averaging nine yards per carry, according to MaxPreps, led by Justin Powell and David Hill. The Crusaders won't throw much, but do take advantage when other teams do; they have six interceptions in three games.
Valwood led 40-0 at halftime last week against cross-county opponent Georgia Christian. Tayt Snellgrove scored through the air and on the ground. De'Mar Riley, Triston White and Dallas Hatfield provided help offensively and defensively.
The two have met 11 times previously. Valwood won last year's meeting 40-28 and have won four of the past five between them.
Georgia Christian (0-2) is looking for its first win of the year, as well as its first touchdown since its opener against Flint River Academy. They won't find an easy opponent in Aucilla Christian, which has won both of its games in 2023.
The Warriors have given up only one touchdown so far, that being in a 20-7 victory over Georgia's Fullington Academy. Georgia Christian was to have played Fullington the week of the hurricane. Aucilla is a running team, led by Landon LaRosa, whose stats indicate he does a bit of everything.
Georgia Christian won last year's contest, 19-13.
Around Region 1-7A: New Hampstead is at Richmond Hill and Somerset Academy-Canyons (Fla.) travels to Camden County. Colquitt County is off.
Around the area: McIntosh County Academy at Lanier County, Thomas County Central at Brooks County, Clinch County at Bacon County, Atkinson County at Berrien