Coverage Breakdown: West Lowndes @ Vardaman
Players to Watch:
Brandon Washington—Brandon Washington is the "utility man" of this Vardaman team. Washington spends time at WR, WB, and DB for the Rams and is a threat to score every time he touches the ball. When the Ram offense needs a spark, he can provide it. He also has the tendency to force a few turnovers on defense. Watch for Vardaman to attempt to get Washington in open space and around the edge often, whether in rushing or passing situations.
Patrick Pratt—Pratt has grown up fast for the Rams, and he already has 12 career interceptions as a sophomore. When the ball is thrown in his direction, he is always a threat to pick it off. He also serves as Vardaman's tailback and has superb agility and awareness. Vardaman will feed Pratt often, and watch for him to account for some Ram scores tonight.
Deon Johnson—Vardaman's fullback, Deon Johnson, has no problem lowering his shoulder pads to clear a path through opposing defenses. Johnson provides a power option to Vardaman's run game, while Patrick Pratt provides the speed. Johnson scored two touchdowns last week at Falkner, and the Rams likely will use him in short yardage situations and heavily near the goal line.
Trae Owen—Vardaman's junior signal caller has shown large strides in maturity over the past year. Owen scored four total touchdowns last week vs. Falkner (2 passing, 2 rushing) and has a knack for extending plays when pass protection breaks down. Owen has some talented targets at his disposal, including Brandon Washington and a 6'4 tight end in Wesley Casey. Watch for Owen to utilize these targets through play action passes tonight and even pick up some yards on the ground.
Lemarrius Friar—The Panther senior quarterback started off the 2016 campaign with a bang as he accounted for 153 yards of total offense vs. Durant. Friar is a threat both through the air and on the ground. He is bulky and can bring some power to the Panther running game.
Marcus Farmer—With the right amount of blocks, Farmer can beat any team to the edge. Farmer has the speed and awareness to embarrass defenses and can score in the blink of an eye.
Kemario Evans—Evans is another dangerous weapon the Panthers utilize in their running game. Evans will line up at wide receiver, running back, and may even take some direct snaps. His quickness and agility make him difficult to tackle and a threat to score at any time.
Casey Smith, Jr.—an underclassmen who brings young talent to the QB position. He and Friar will share time at QB tonight as West Lowndes attempts to run multiple offensive plays past the Ram defense. When Smith is in the game, look for him to pass well and to utilize his speed to avoid the Ram front seven.
Keys to the Game
This Region 1-1A matchup features two teams most likely bound for postseason play. A win tonight by either team puts it in the driver's seat to host a playoff game. Vardaman sits at 4-0 in region play, while West Lowndes is 2-1. Both teams are extremely talented, so look for this one to be a close game throughout.
Defense is the key to victory as both offenses have the potential to be prolific. Vardaman's defense is down a starter in Tanner Havens, who is out for the season with a shoulder injury. How the Rams respond to his absence in the face of West Lowndes's speed will be critical.
West Lowndes is faced with the task of slowing down Brandon Washington and the Vardaman offense. Vardaman will show opposing defenses various misdirection and play action looks that can make them difficult to defend. In order for the Panthers to be successful, they have to put a lid on Vardaman's offensive playmakers.
Brandon Washington and Kemario Evans
These "big play" guys will have to be consistent and make explosive plays in order for their teams to be successful. Both of these young men have great speed and athleticism, and the comparison between the two will be fun to watch in Vardaman tonight.
**Photo by Sherry Williams.