It’s a toss-up as to which Friday night score was most surprising.
Was it Valdosta’s 28-24 loss to Brooks County or Tift County’s 56-7 victory over Houston County?
Both outcomes drew some raised eyebrows.
Valdosta, ranked No. 8 in Class AAAAAA, was knocked off by the Class AA Trojans at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium in one of the biggest upsets so far this season.
Not that Brooks County wasn’t formidable. The Trojans are ranked No. 3 in Class AA.
But, still, beating Valdosta for the first time in seven meetings, in Valdosta?
Malcolm Parrish threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Deric Herring with 2:40 remaining to give the Trojans a four-point advantage and Herring sealed it by batting away a fourth-down pass in the end zone with 32.4 seconds left.
Valdosta had defeated Brooks County six times from 1996-2011 and also owned 12 victories over old Quitman High.
Valdosta led 24-21 with 2:40 left in the game when Brooks lined up to attempt what would be game-tying field goal with the ball on the 8-yard line.
The kick failed, but Valdosta ran into Trojans kicker Daniel Hodum, giving Brooks County a first down at the 4.
Three plays later, Parrish avoided the rush and hit Herring in the end zone.
“Coach (Maurice) Freeman and his kids did an outstanding job,” Valdosta coach Rance Gillespie told The Valdosta Daily Times. “They deserved to win the football game and made plays that counted
“As for our football team, we made enough mistakes to lose two football games.”
Parrish passed for 269 yards and two touchdowns and ran 12 times for 35 yards and another touchdown.
Valdosta quarterback Shelby Wilkes passed for 160 yards and a touchdown, but was intercepted twice.
Nelson Herring ran 12 times for 83 yards and a touchdown.
Valdosta, which opened with a 28-7 victory over North Augusta at North Gwinnett, falls to 1-1. The Wildcats will be back home on Friday to face Crisp County.
Brooks County, now 3-0, also has a 43-3 win over Clinch County and a 21-18 victory over Monroe.
The Trojans will be off this week before traveling to Mitchell County on Sept. 21.
Tift County lost its opener, falling 33-29 to Westover in Albany, but Rashad Daniels made sure the Blue Devils would not fall to 0-2 when they went to McConnell-Talbert Stadium on Friday.
Daniels set a school record by rushing for 368 yards on 23 carries and scored five times on runs of 71, 58, 12, 56 and 4 yards.
And he did all that without playing the final quarter.
The win was the first for Tift County under new head coach John Reid.
Houston County, now 1-1, was “taken to the woodshed,” coach Greg Robinson said.
The Blue Devils rolled up 571 yards on the ground, averaging 9.3 yards a carry.
Houston County managed just 153 yards of offense, including just 29 on the ground.
Tift County will return to the Devils Den for its home-opener on Friday with Worth County paying a visit.
Houston County, 1-1, will be back at McConnell-Talbert Stadium to play host to Northside-Columbus on Friday.
The other two games involving Region 1-AAAAAA schools went as expected with Camden County demolishing Johnson High of Savannah 55-0 and Lowndes blanking Newton High 31-0.
The Vikings rolled up 268 yards of offense and held the Rams to just 72.
Newton is 0-2.
Lowndes, which opened with a 50-23 win over Luella, will take a 2-0 record into its Friday game against Windsor Forest at Martin Stadium. The Knights are 0-1.
With its victory Camden County is now 3-0. The Wildcats will be back at home on Friday to take on 0-2 Beach.
In Moultrie, Colquitt County scored two third-quarter touchdowns and made them stand up for a 14-7 victory over Lovejoy in a battle of top-10 Class AAAAAA teams.
After a scoreless first half, sophomore Javonte Woods took the pitch on a reverse and ran 53 yards for his first varsity touchdown with 10:56 left in the third quarter.
Two Lovejoy personal foul penalties on the same play helped set the Packers on the Wildcat 14, where quarterback Cole Segraves connected with Nate Madison on a tackle-eligible play.
Lovejoy, ranked No. 9 in the state after going 14-1 last year in Class AAAA, scored it only touchdown on a 12-yard pass from quarterback Alejandro Bennefield to Brandon Davis with 11:36 left in the game.
Lovejoy All-State running back Travis Custis ran for 141 yards, but only 14 in the second half.
The Packers won despite passing for just 63 yards.
Colquitt County plays host to Class AAA Carver of Columbus on Friday. The Tigers are 2-0.
Brunswick and Coffee, both 2-0, were off on Friday.
The Pirates will be at home to face 1-1 Ware County and Coffee will be at Jardine Stadium in Douglas to play host Burke County, also 1-1.
It’s a toss-up as to which Friday night score was most surprising.
- Local Sports
Blazers fall to Molloy in eight innings
With only one out remaining and trailing by three, the Molloy Lions strung together four hits to plate three runs in the seventh followed by another run in the eighth inning to defeat Valdosta State’s softball team 5-4 in the first round of the 2013 Division II Softball National Championship Tournament on Thursday in Salem, Va.
Albritton, Johnson earn All-America honors
Valdosta State softball players Courtney Albritton and Morgan Johnson gathered multiple All-America honors late Wednesday night.
Golfers take course for Wounded Warriors
Local patrons participated in the Wounded Warrior Project Golf Tournament at Stone Creek Golf Club in Valdosta on Thursday.
Valwood football hosting 4-man scramble golf tourney
Head coach Ashley Henderson and the Valwood football team will be hosting a 4-man scramble golf tournament at Valdosta Country Club Friday, June 14.
VHS football cheerleaders to host Junior Cheer Camp
The Valdosta High School football cheerleaders will be hosting a Junior Cheer Camp June 5 through June 7 at the W.G. Nunn Elementary School gymnasium.
Gillespie, McPherson pleased with spring practices
Valdosta’s Rance Gillespie and Lowndes’ Randy McPherson both think their football teams got better during the recent 10 days of spring practice.
Then again, both coaches know their teams have a ways to go before the start of the football season.
Signing day at VHS
It was signing day galore at Valdosta High School Wednesday.
Six student-athletes signed national letter of intents to compete at the next level, while two VHS athletes both signed academic scholarships to Division I universities.
Powell signs with Shorter
Robert Powell, a member of the basketball team on South Georgia State College’s Waycross Campus, has signed a letter of intent to continue his basketball career at Shorter University in Rome.
Sending the Blazers off
The Valdosta State softball team made the long journey to Salem, Va. Tuesday, leaving Valdosta at 10:30 a.m. with devoted fans cheering them out of the parking lot.
All-Region teams announced
Lowndes was one win away from a trip to the Class AAAAAA state semifinals, and the success by the Vikings this season showed when the All-Region 1 baseball teams were announced Monday.
- More Local Sports Headlines
- Blazers fall to Molloy in eight innings